The state of Pennsylvania is rapidly emerging as a contentious battleground where Republicans and Democrats are fighting over one of the most hot-button issues in November’s election – the use of mail-in ballots.
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany highlighted Republican concerns in the Keystone State. “It’s a system that’s subject to fraud,” she said at a press briefing. “I can confirm for you that Trump ballots, ballots for the president, were found in Pennsylvania.” The FBI and state police are now investigating after the U.S. attorney’s office reported that nine military ballots were found discarded in Luzerne County – and seven of them had been cast for Trump.
While the GOP is focused on the risks of mail-in ballots, Pennsylvania Democrats are expressing worries that security measures for mail ballots will disenfranchise their voters. Earlier this week, Democratic Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley sent a letter to the Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania legislature warning that a recent state Supreme Court decision threatens to upend November’s elections by disallowing mail-in ballots that aren’t returned in “secrecy envelopes.” Secrecy envelopes are an additional envelope or sleeve that make it difficult for poll workers and others to see through the return envelope and read what’s on the ballot, and generally make ballots harder to tamper with.
“It is likely true that the number of naked ballots” — those lacking secrecy envelopes — “we received in the June primary was at least between 15,000 to 20,000. Philadelphia is likely to receive about twice as many mail ballots in the general election as we did the primary,” she wrote. “This would mean 30,000 to 40,000 ballots could very likely be thrown out in Philadelphia alone. That number could rise to over 100,000 statewide.” She ended her letter urging the legislature to pass a law allowing the state to accept ballots without secrecy envelopes.