Legislators in swing states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, have pushed to change state laws to allow early voting, which includes opening ballot envelopes for verification and preparing them for eventual counting, by November 3, but with varying and as yet undetermined success.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo wrote in an opinion piece in September for the Courier Times: "Regardless of political affiliation, no one wants to have a situation where election results are not determined until weeks or even months later. We need legislation to become law that allows counties to pre-check.
Republican DiGirolamo warned that pre-checking is the only way to avoid a delay that will hurt everyone later. In the Pennsylvania primary, for example, more people voted by mail than voted in person. He later wrote: "If we are not given the authority to do this, we will be forced to face a man-made disaster, one that could easily be avoided if our legislature and our governor worked together.
According to the local Fox43 channel, the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association (CCAP) has asked Harrisburg legislators to allow pre-voting three days before the election. A Republican-backed bill would allow early voting, although it is currently being thwarted by Democrats, who claim that the bill includes other measures, such as mailbox restrictions for ballots sent through the mail.
In the meantime, CCAP is waiting for the state legislature to consider a bill that only addresses the pre-survey. Association President Jeff Snyder has commented to Fox43: "Without the possibility of a pre-voter survey on Election Day, it may take days or even weeks before the final election results are known.
For its part, the state of Michigan has made further progress on pre-election. The state legislature, led by Republicans, passed a bill that allows calls for the state to begin pre-election on the day before the election. The Detroit Free Press reported that it is still awaiting the signature of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has said in the past month that she supports the bill, however, she wishes she had more time to conduct the pre-election poll. Benson said in a statement that while a recommendation called for seven days for pre-screening, the bill gives workers only ten hours.
Finally, Benson closed by saying, "Senate Bill 757 is a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough to provide the relief that the secretaries have been seeking for more than a year. I support the small step forward because I know that at this point the secretaries will receive any legislative assistance. But the bill falls far short of what our secretaries and voters deserve.