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Philadelphians eager to know the results of the midterm primaries will likely get most of their answers by Wednesday morning, experts say.
The contested Democratic primaries for state legislative positions in Philadelphia only involve segments of the city — and therefore, don’t require too many mail-in ballots to be counted. And for statewide races, the closest contests are between Republicans, who are much less likely to vote by mail.
That means most races relevant to Philadelphia will likely be called Tuesday night, election attorney Adam Bonin predicts.
“The volume of mail-in votes isn’t as high as in presidential years, so … we should be in good shape Tuesday night, especially on the Republican side, where there will be fewer mail-in ballots to count, “, Bonin said.
About 10% of Philadelphia’s registered voters, just over 104,000 people, have requested mail-in ballots for the May 2022 primary, state records show. As of Monday, more than 65,000 of them had been fired.
By comparison, the November 2020 general election saw three and a half times as many Philadelphians vote by mail, or about 365,000 people.
Under state law, Bonin noted, processing of mail-in ballots still cannot begin until the polls open Tuesday morning. How fast will this go?
According to Nick Custodio, a spokesman for the city commissioners, there are 48,000 ballots in Philadelphia that can be “run through the process” on Election Day – but not all of them will be allowed to count immediately. Some might require further examination.
Some mail-in ballots arrived after May 10 and are not marked as returned in the printed ballot books, so election officials will need to cross-check to ensure there are no double voting. This process will take until Thursday evening or Friday morning, Custodio said.
Across all counties in Pennsylvania, 911,000 mail-in and absentee ballot requests were processed, and about 576,000 of those were returned, according to Mark Walters, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The State Department plans to hold press conferences at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tuesday evening to provide updates on the election. This last conference is referred to as “if necessary” in the ministry’s announcement.
Republican voters by mail could still end up making a difference
Only about 5,000 mail-in ballot seekers in Philadelphia are Republicans, compared to about 93,000 Democrats.
Statewide, about 199,000 Republicans requested an absentee ballot, and about 125,000 of those were kicked out as of Monday. About 680,000 Democrats requested mail-in ballots, and about 452,000 of them were received Monday.
It’s hard to say exactly how close the statewide primaries will be, especially on the Republican side.
In the race for governor, Susquehanna Polling & Research released a poll on Monday that showed Doug Mastriano in a clear lead (29%) after winning the endorsement of former President Trump, ahead of Bill McSwain (18%) and Lou Barletta ( 15%). An earlier Franklin & Marshall College poll had Mastriano at 20%, McSwain at 12% and Barletta at 11%.
Across the aisle, Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro is the only Democratic candidate on the ballot.
For the US Senate, Susquehanna had Mehmet Oz (28%) and Kathy Barnette (27%) neck and neck on Monday, with David McCormick just 11% and all other candidates in single digits. The F&M poll showed Oz and McCormick at 18% and 16%, respectively, and Barnette at 12%.
The Democratic Senate primary isn’t as close in the polls. F&M had 53% favorite John Fetterman with Conor Lamb at 14%.
Even with fewer Republican mail-in ballots, if the Senate or gubernatorial races are as close as polls show, “it could be a few days before we know the outcome,” Stephen said. Medvic, professor of government at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. “In fact, depending on whether there are any legal proceedings, it could be longer than that.”
Still, Medvic added: “I don’t think that’s likely and I guess even for very close races we’ll know by Wednesday morning.”