PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Elections Board gave KDKA a tour of its elections warehouse, where ballots will be counted on Election Day.
Inside this warehouse, there are already more than 300,000 sealed ballots under lock and key and not one envelope can be opened until Election Day.
The activity is already ramping up. But come Election Day, the roar of hundreds of workers processing ballots will fill the cavernous warehouse up to the rafters. The county says officals were battle-tested in the June primary.
“We are very confident. The good part is, we had a very similar trial run back in June. I thought we were very successful in June and we just added on to that,” said Chet Harhut of the Allegheny County Elections Division.
It is a seven-step process that involves seven-hour shifts running round the clock until the last vote is counted.
“Open, flattening and determining whether the envelopes are ready to be processed,” said Jerry Tyskiewicz of administrative services.
The receiving of ballots is already ongoing, with 311,000 already in-house. But under court orders, even the declaration envelopes cannot begin to be opened until Tuesday morning. After being prepared, they’ll be scanned, recorded and stored.
But in addition to the sheer bulk of ballots, this year’s task will be further complicated. The workers will need to segregate and set aside ballots that have been improperly filled out. Also set aside will be ballots that come in postmarked before 8 p.m. Tuesday night but arrive up to three days later.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has said those ballots will count but the ruling faces a post-election challenge at the United States Supreme Court. But the Allegheny County solicitor says as of now, the votes will count.
“We are guided by both the Department of State and the current Pa. Supreme Court decision,” said solicitor Andrew Szefi.
KDKA asked several times, but the Allegheny County Elections Division did not give an estimate on how long it will take for them to count the lion’s share of ballots.