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Biden Wins Pennsylvania and the Presidency

by on November 07, 2020 2:26 PM

Democrat Joe Biden is projected to win Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, pushing him past the 270 needed to defeat President Donald Trump and become the 46th President of the United States.

The Associated Press and every major news network called Pennsylvania and the election for Biden on Saturday morning. With the victory Sen. Kamala Harris will be the first female and first Black and first South Asian-American vice president-elect. 

"I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris," Biden said in a statement. "With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together."

Trump has not conceded and said in a statement his campaign planned to proceed with legal challenges in several states, including Pennsylvania.

The call for Biden comes after days of counting votes in Pennsylvania and several other battleground states that remain undecided. Though Trump took an early lead in the Keystone State on Election Night, largely based on in-person voting, the state's record number of mail-in votes took longer to tally and skewed heavily toward Biden.

For months prior to the election, state officials cautioned that because no legislation was passed to allow counting of the millions of mail ballots before election day, results would likely take several days to come in.

By Friday morning, Biden had overtaken Trump in Pennsylvania and since then his lead has continued to grow. With about 99% reporting, Biden led Trump by 34,000 votes.

As elsewhere in the state, counting continued in Centre County on Saturday as the Board of Elections met again to process provisional ballots. Biden currently leads Trump 39,711 to 36,041 in the county.

Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said after the meeting that there are about 600 provisional, military and civilian overseas absentee, and flagged mail-in ballots still to be counted.

 

"Even though there’s been projections called for races, we’re still counting regardless of that," he said. "We’re still proceeding and counting every vote we have. We count them all. We complete the process."

The county also has segregated about 140 mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Nov. 3 and received after 8 p.m. Tuesday and before 5 p.m. on Friday and will only be counted pending the outcome of a legal challenge. The state Supreme Court ruled that ballots received by Friday could be counted, but Pennsylvania Republicans appealed that decision, arguing that ballots that arrived after 8 p.m. on Tuesday are not valid under state election law.

On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered that those ballots must be kept separate until the case is heard, something Pennsylvania Department of State officials said counties already were told to do.

“The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed what we have been saying – Secretary [Kathy] Boockvar changed the rules for the counties after telling the Court that ballots would only be segregated," State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, said in a statement on Saturday morning. "The Court said it was not aware the Secretary’s original guidance, which had an ‘important bearing on the question whether to order special treatment of the ballots in question had been modified.’

“The constantly changing guidance has resulted in inconsistent handling of ballots across the counties. Her actions are nothing but a partisan effort to cause chaos and mistrust. The rebuke by the Supreme Court underscores how Secretary Boockvar’s action have weakened the confidence in our voting system and Pennsylvania’s election results.”

The Trump campaign also was granted better access for observers at Philadelphia voting sites, but a federal judge dismissed a request for an emergency injunction to stop counting as the campaign claimed election workers had ignored the earlier ruling.

The Philadelphia City Commissioners said the claim was false and Trump campaign counsel admitted they had representatives in the room.

State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, called for election results to be audited before they are certified.

"From decisions issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that are in direct conflict with current law, and contradictory and confusing guidance issued by the Secretary of State to counties on how to handle certain ballots, to poll watchers being denied access to observe pre-canvassing and canvassing activities, the current election process has been chaotic and led to legitimate questions being raised about its integrity. 

Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, who represents the 12th district and has been a staunch backer of Trump, supported the president's position that the election has not been decided.

"The citizens of the United States, not media outlets, determine the outcome of elections. With recounts and legal challenges expected, we must let the process play out," Keller wrote on Twitter.

Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, meanwhile, congratulated Biden on the victory.

“I congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory in this campaign," Casey said in a statement. "It’s now time to unite and heal our Nation so we can build back better. Coming together as one Nation, we can defeat the virus, rebuild our economy for workers and families and provide a brighter future for our children.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey said the result won't be known until all votes are counted and litigation is resolved.

“Democracy succeeds only when all sides can trust that the election process is fair and transparent," Toomey said in a statement. "Given the extremely close result, the American people must be assured that the process is being conducted with integrity. This means campaign representatives must have meaningful access to observe whether the law is being followed. I strongly encourage all state and local officials to ensure that this happens as the election process is completed.”

 



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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