PHILADELPHIA, PA NBC News.
“The General Assembly, the courts and the governor have created an election show. “No one really understands what’s going on,” said a district election official, “no one understands.”
The heightened concern comes after the state of Keystone took weeks to report its initial results in June and as local election officials face ever-changing demands on the election process this year. With less than 45 days to go before the general election, the battlefield is expected to be tight and senior Pennsylvania officials have already said they do not expect results on election night.
An email to a group of Pennsylvania election directors told NBC News that nearly one in four counties in the state has seen leaders in their campaign offices leave.
At least one of Mifflin County was left for promotion in the Pennsylvania State Department and has since been replaced. Others, however, left after the adoption of the new state law on ballots for mailing last fall or withdrawal ̵
“The loss of so many district election officials in one year, more than anything else, should be a canary in the coal mine for state-level stakeholders to recognize that the current paradigm is unsustainable,” the email said in part. , also warning that there is potential for more employees to leave before November 3rd.
“The State Department is taking all possible steps to help the counties as they meet these challenges,” wrote Wanda Murren of the Pennsylvania State Department, which oversees the state’s election process, according to a statement from NBC News. “Election administrators are a special group of people dedicated to doing the hard work of democracy. We are extremely grateful to those who continue this work and will continue to do our utmost to help them and the new election staff who are boarding.
Several counties and the secretary of state’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment for clarity.
Many government officials point to constant changes in the way elections are conducted during a pandemic, in addition to delays due to legal battles. For example, counties could not start printing, testing, and sending their ballots until the list was validated late Thursday after being detained due to a lawsuit over whether Green Party candidates could participate in the ballot.
The state’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Green Party’s candidates, but some county officials said they were worried the decision could change again if the party appealed, and that they would have to reprint the ballots.
“We have voters calling and I can’t even give them answers because I don’t know,” one district official said of the confusion.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court also ruled this week that counties could use ballot boxes after being challenged by Trump’s campaign over use in the mainstream. Meanwhile, the state building is still fighting over whether ballots can be prepared in advance before election day, which experts say could ease reporting delays.
All of this only heightens concerns about whether the state election will run smoothly, as U.S. Democrats said this week that they are specifically trying to avoid looking like Florida in 2000 or this year’s Iowa meeting.
“Everyone had it,” said one district election official. “We don’t get enough money, we work 15 or 16 hours a day and [the Department of State] it keeps changing everything, so we have to keep throwing things away. This is a waste of resources in our office. It’s just crazy. I have been through difficult elections before and I have never seen anything like it. And with the new laws on top of that, it’s unrealistic. “