Released: November 14, 2020
The Delaware County Board of Elections held a special meeting on Friday, November 13, to hear legal challenges to over 1,700 of the nearly 9,000 provisional ballots cast in the November 3, 2020 General Election. These challenges, filed almost exclusively by the Trump campaign, sought to disqualify ballots based predominantly on procedural errors made by Delaware County voters.
The Board met for nearly four hours and heard arguments for and against the record number of challenges. The exchange between the bipartisan Board, legal representatives of multiple parties, and Delaware County’s Department of Voter Registration (charged with overseeing provisional ballots) was amical, with all participants working together to determine the validity of ballots that may have been unsigned, undated, unsealed or otherwise incomplete. Minor details of individual ballots were often scrutinized, with many Delaware County voters in attendance to not only observe the proceedings but to present testimony and evidence when and if the Board sought additional information.
In every case in which a voter appeared at the hearing to defend their ballot, the challenge was withdrawn by the Trump campaign. Overall, nearly every argument made by the challengers to disqualify Delaware County ballots was wholly withdrawn upon input from the Board and clarification by the County’s Department of Voter Registration of often long-standing, legally sound, and universally-accepted processes used to review, approve and count provisional ballots.
Notably, no evidence of voter fraud among provisional ballots was alleged or discussed.
A single challenge to a small number of ballots was upheld by the Board, agreeing to disqualify ballots where the voter failed to sign the “Voter Affidavit” on the provisional ballot envelope. Historically, these ballots have been allowed and counted in Delaware County, but a different approach was adopted based upon the Board’s reexamination of the election code.
Both Board of Election Chair Gerry Lawrence and Jonathan Goldstein, Counsel for Trump Campaign, were effusive in their praise of the County’s Department of Voter Registration and its staff. Under the direction of Interim Director Crystal Winterbottom, the department managed to complete the inspection of a massive and unprecedented number of provisional ballots by the statutory deadline and provided clear documentation and timely information throughout the proceedings.
All voters whose ballot was challenged will receive a letter from the County informing them that their ballot was counted in full, partially counted, or not counted. The County’s Delco Votes! website (delocpa.gov/vote) will be updated early next week to reflect the final status of each provisional ballot, and the State’s website (www.votespa.com) will also be updated with the final status sometime shortly.