WPSU 2020 Election Day Live Updates
November 3 is Election Day. WPSU will bring you reports from polling places, interviews with election officials and voters, and other election updates in this blog. Check back throughout today to see what you need to know about the elections.
10:34 p.m. Nov. 3, 2020
Secretary of State said election in Pennsylvania went “remarkably smoothly”
As polls closed at 8 in Pennsylvania, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf once again urged voters to be patient as they await election results.
“While counting these ballots will take more time than in past years, Pennsylvania will have a fair election, every eligible vote will be counted as it must be,” Wolf said. “And make no mistake. We're going to stand up as we always say to anybody who wants to silence the voices of Pennsylvania's who have voted.”
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar previously said that any attempt from candidates to declare a win before all votes are counted would be illegitimate.
“I'm happy to report that today's election in the Commonwealth went remarkably smoothly,” Boockvar said during a press briefing at 9 p.m. “We have no major or widespread events to report.”
She said about 83% of mail-in ballots the state sent out have been returned and that many counties have not yet recorded the ballots received today.
Seven counties said they will not begin tabulating ballots until tomorrow. Boockvar said that shouldn’t slow the process of getting a complete count.
“Those seven counties waiting till tomorrow, they still are largely going to be done before some of the larger counties. It's not going to impact the overall time frame at all, for the presidential race,” Boockvar said.
10:26 p.m. Nov. 3, 2020
AP called 13th U.S. House seat for Republican incumbent John Joyce
The Associated Press has called the 13th Congressional District in Pennsylvania for Republican incumbent John Joyce. The 13th includes Blair and Huntingdon Counties. With 50% of the votes counted, Joyce has 80% of the vote. Democratic challenger Todd Rowley has 20%. Joyce is a former dermatologist. He first won the seat two years ago.
8:08 p.m. Nov. 3, 2020
More than 2.5 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania have been returned by early Tuesday
Speaking earlier today, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said more than 2.5 million voters have returned their mail-in ballots. That’s more than 81% of all mail-in ballots the state sent out.
“We're going to end up somewhere probably in the realm of 2.6 million, which is literally 10 times as many ballots as were cast by mail in 2016,” Boockvar said.
She said Pennsylvania voters are showing great interest in participating in this year’s elections, but she asked for their patience.
“While we expect the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvania ballots to be counted within a few days. Our first priority and our counties' first priority is to accurately and securely count every legal valid cast,” she said.
Mailed ballots that are postmarked today and arrive before 5 o’clock Friday evening will be counted. Absentee ballots from military and civilian overseas voters are accepted until seven days after the election.
Mail-in ballots received after Election Day may be challenged in court. Boockvar said the Department of State has instructed counties to keep them separate.
Several counties have said they will not begin tabulating mail-in ballots until Wednesday. Boockvar said those counties represent a small fraction of the total number of votes.
“I just want to be clear -- the estimate of [the] timeframe that we’ll have the overwhelming majority of ballots counted within a couple days still stands,” Boockvar said.
- Min Xian, reporter
7:54 p.m. Nov. 3, 2020
Penn State University Park students cast their votes at a new venue this election
Penn State University Park students who usually vote at the HUB-Robeson Center voted in the Bryce Jordan Center this year because the latter allows more space for social distancing.
Rather than voting ahead of Election Day, sophomore chemical engineering student Kaleb Sharrer said he didn’t want to vote by mail for his first election. Sharrer said he wanted to make sure his vote for President Donald Trump counted in Pennsylvania.
With poll workers at the Bryce Jordan Center masked and socially distanced, Sharrer said he had no fears of contracting COVID-19.
“COVID’s kind of a joke,” Sharrer said. “It didn’t really matter to come here. I’m not 80.”
Sharrer said it was an “easy process” voting at the Bryce Jordan Center. He went during the middle of the day and was able to finish voting within 10 minutes.
Sophomore premedicine major Christina Huang is from Georgia. She was afraid she might not receive an absentee ballot in time, so she switched her registration to Pennsylvania. Huang decided to wait until Election Day to vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“I was a bit nervous that it wouldn’t get here, so I just decided to vote in person,” Huang said.
Huang said the Bryce Jordan Center was well spaced and provided a good experience for in-person voting.
- Andrew Destin, news intern
7:41 p.m. Nov. 3, 2020
Centre County expects to post first round results shortly after polls close
A never-before-seen number of Pennsylvania voters mailed or dropped off their ballots this election. In Centre County, a team of vote-counters is making sure everything goes smoothly.
For this election, the county set up a separate station at the Penn Stater hotel to handle all the mail-in ballots.
Michael Pipe, chairman of the Centre County Board of Commissioners, said each of the two ballot process machines at the station can process and take photos of 1,500 ballots per hour.
“So this high-speed scanner saves us time to make sure we can get accurate results out to our citizens and to the Commonwealth and our country in a short order.”
He said in a past general election, they might have gotten 8,000 mail-ins.By mid-day today, the county’s team had opened and started scanning 29,000 mail-in ballots. Pipe expected the results from this first round to be posted shortly after the polls close at 8 tonight.
- Anne Danahy, reporter
6:20 p.m. Nov. 3, 2020
“My duty to vote”: Hear from these voters in Blair County
In Blair County, where Republicans outnumber Democrats two to one, county election officials say voting was steady all day. At several polling locations, supporters of President Donald Trump came in person to make their voices heard.
“Gotta keep jobs in Pennsylvania going. Keep the fracking going,” Jarod Rhykerd said. “The left is just out of their minds. So, we gotta stay grounded. And it’s about faith, too.”
Jason Messner was also voting for Trump.
“I’m going to come out because it’s my duty to vote. We’ve got our little experiment in democracy, which we are actually not a democracy, we’re a constitutional republic. But it still takes some democratic participation and that’s my duty to be here to do so,” Jason Messner said.
Lois Hannah said she registered this election after years of not voting.
“I’m going to vote for President Trump. I feel he’s the right man for the job, and that’s the president that God is hoping will again be in our election,” Hannah said.
Kurt Lightner said social injustice brought him to vote for Joe Biden.
“It just seems like he’s got everybody’s back at this point. Lesser of two evils,” Lightner said.
And Brenda Frederick said she worries the division is not over yet.
“I think there’s such a high level of emotion on both sides,” Frederick said, “that I think no matter who wins or who loses the other side is going to react, I think, in a negative way.”
- Carolyn Donaldson, in Blair County
3:10 p.m. Nov. 3, 2020
Advocates urge patience when it comes to getting a complete count
Counting every ballot in this election will take days, if not weeks, said executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, Lisa Schaefer. A main reason is the unprecedented number of mail-in ballots Pennsylvanians have requested this year - nearly 3.1 million of them.
“So that’s six million envelopes that we have to open and process,” Schaefer said. “And we’re already trying to run an in-person election. So it’s very unlikely that we’re going to have anywhere close to complete results on Election Night.”
Counties were allowed to begin processing mail-in ballots at 7 a.m. today, but some say they won’t start counting until tomorrow. Ballots postmarked by today that arrive by 5 p.m. on Friday will be counted as well. But if you haven’t returned your mail-in ballot yet, state officials suggest you hand deliver it to your county elections office or a ballot drop box instead of mailing it in.
Schaefer said there will be predictions for election outcomes, but the focus should be on making sure every vote that’s valid gets counted. “We’re not going to sacrifice the integrity of the Election in favor of speed of getting the results in,” she said.
Polls are open until 8 tonight.
- Min Xian, reporter
Check back for results as they come in: