Three closely contested contests for legislative districts in the suburbs of Philadelphia will determine which party controls the Pennsylvania House.
Unofficial results released on Thursday showed that in Bucks County, Democrat Mark Moffa had a two-vote advantage over Republican Joe Hogan in the 142nd House District. Democrat Brian Munroe had a 406-vote advantage over Republican Todd Polinchock in the 144th District.
Todd Stephens Led Democrat Melissa Cerrato
Unofficial results showed that Republican incumbent Todd Stephens led Democrat Melissa Cerrato in Montgomery County by a margin of 26 votes.
Democrats in the House expressed confidence on Wednesday that they would regain control of the lower house for the first time since 2010.
House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris said that the prediction was based on the votes. Votes had been counted up to that point and the pattern of mail-in votes that leaned toward the Democrats.
The outcome of the elections might be affected by a long-running disagreement. It is over whether to consider mail-in votes that are submitted without a handwritten date or with an inaccurate date.
Unlawful Limitation on the Right to Vote
This year, a federal appeals court determined that refusing to count undated votes would constitute an unlawful limitation on the right to vote. But this month, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the decision since the underlying election was already over.
The issue was unresolved by the state Supreme Court, which now only consists of six justices after the passing of Chief Justice Max Baer in September. Election workers were instructed to lay aside and not count any votes with dates that were either missing or inaccurate.
In two federal lawsuits, voting rights organisations and the campaign of newly elected U.S. Senator John Fetterman claim that failing to count ballots with incorrect or undated dates violates the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against depriving voters of their right to vote due to trivial administrative mistakes.
Jim O’Malley, a spokesman for Bucks County, said on Thursday that the elections office had finished tallying validly submitted mail-in ballots and votes cast in person.
Results by November 15th
The Bucks County Board of Elections will convene the following week to discuss and decide whether to count provisional votes.
Secretary of State Leigh Chapman must receive the election results by November 15th.
There are around 5,500 provisional, incorrectly-dated, and undated mail-in votes, according to O’Malley. There are still 653 abroad votes for civilian, government, and military candidates to be counted.
According to the county’s election website, there are now over 4,300 mail-in and absentee votes in Montgomery County that have not yet been tabulated and are awaiting review.