HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Pennsylvania is not only a key battleground state in the upcoming presidential election, it has also taken center stage in the controversy over mail-in voting.
While state Democrats accuse Republicans of sowing doubt in the minds of voters, Republicans raise the spectre of voter fraud and vow to take their fight to U.S. Supreme Court.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was on 60 Minutes Sunday night to talk about the political clash over mail-in voting.
“I can tell you my team and I, along with others around the country, are preparing for all kinds of outcomes,” said Shapiro. “Sadly, we have to fear that we have a sitting president of the United States that may take legal action to try and stop certain legal votes from being counted.”
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He went on to criticize the Republican party’s stance on voting by mail.
“There’s an extraordinary amount of hypocrisy that’s going on right now within the Republican Party. Donald Trump and his family vote by mail,” said Shapiro.
60 Minutes also talked to state Senate Republican Majority Leader Jake Corman, who says he believes voting by mail is safe and secure in Pennsylvania.
Just last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved two controversial measures — one allowing voting drop boxes and the other for mail-in votes to be counted three days after the election if they are postmarked before 8 p.m. Election Day. Shapiro says it will allow all legitimate votes to be counted.
“My view is that every legal, eligible voter — regardless of who your preferred candidate is — should have access to the ballot, and I’m going to do everything in my power to protect that,” Shapiro said.
While the the ruling says the mail-in ballots must be postmarked before or on Election Day, it also says the postmarks may be illegible or otherwise obscured and still be counted. And Sam DeMarco, Republican county councilman at large and election board member, says that opens the door to fraud and ballots mailed after Nov. 3.
“My concern is that any ballots that are not legally cast can be counted after Election Day,” DeMarco said.
DeMarco also takes exception with the state Supreme Court’s ruling on drop boxes, where voters can individually drop their ballots. Allegheny County will supervise the boxes to make sure only individual voters use them and not someone dropping off a batch of votes, but DeMarco says other counties won’t staff theirs.
“There a vast difference about how they’re handled here in Allegheny County and how they’re being handled in other parts of the state,” he said.
The Republican party is challenging these measures in federal court and party leaders say they will take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.