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Philadelphia Inquirer reporter says first-time absentee voting in Pennsylvania could lead to contested ballots, delayed election results

Philadelphia Inquirer national politics reporter Jonathan Tamari on Friday said that with all Pennsylvania voters now allowed to vote by mail for the first time in this year’s general election, the state may not be able to report its presidential election results until days after Nov. 3, with the possibility that thousands of ballots may be thrown out if they are not completed properly. 

Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, Pennsylvania passed a law last year that allows any registered voter to request an absentee ballot without an excuse. 

Tamari said on Hill.TV’s “Rising” on Friday that voters submitting ballots by mail for the first time may not be aware of all the requirements, such as putting ballots in a secrecy envelope. 

“There’s a question of, ‘will people who are new to mail voting do that properly,’ and there’s been concerns in Philadelphia alone that as many as 100,000 ballots could be thrown out because of this,” Tamari explained. “And remember that Pennsylvania was decided by just 44,000 votes in the last election.” 

He added that because Pennsylvania state law mandates that mail ballots cannot be opened until Election Day and allows them to be counted if they are postmarked by Nov. 3 but arrive up to three days after, election results may not immediately be available for the state. 

“If it’s a really close election, yeah, we could be waiting until Friday, Saturday, Sunday to see which way Pennsylvania goes and that could possibly decide which way the White House goes,” Tamari said. 

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE leads President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE in the battleground state 51 percent to 44 percent. 

Watch more from the interview above.