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Nope, Pennsylvania won't be counting mail ballots before Election Day

There's been a bunch of back and forth in the Keystone State about whether, given the volume of people voting by mail this year, counties will be able to open ballots before the normal 7am Eastern Time "alarm clock."

Today, the House GOP is confirming by email that negotiations relating to possible earlier counting broke down. From the email:

“Given that the Governor has not put anything on the table that can get through our caucus and has once again removed himself from the process of discussing the issue, we have no plans at this time to consider changes to the Election Code that will affect the upcoming election.”

That means that current, existing law will stand - and mail ballot counting will begin at 7am on Election Day.

This likely means that we won't know the result of the presidential election in Pennsylvania for days after November 3, even if one candidate or the other wins handily. It takes a lot of time to process and count these ballots.

It also means people's confidence in election results may be easily shaken. It's entirely possible, maybe even probable, that initial results will show a Trump win because more GOP voters vote in person so those votes will be processed and counted first, and final results will show a Biden win as more mail ballots, which favor Democrats, are ultimately opened and added to the totals.

It looks like the Philadelphia Inquirer got it right last month when they said that “the chances of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and GOP leadership reaching an agreement seem less likely than ever.”

Relatedly, the chances of people here having any confidence in the electoral system or that the right result will have been reached are diminishing.

This is what you get when you have a Governor who fails to lead and work across the aisle to a sufficient degree, and yet we're fully confident the House GOP will be blamed for this.

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