PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Butler Republican, says all states should count mail-in ballots before Election Day.
He’s introduced a bill in Congress to require just that, along with some other provisions that he says will protect election integrity. Not everyone agrees.
“There’s a reason that three key states did not have their elections called on Election Night – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin,” ACLU legal director Vic Walczak told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday. “And the reason is that the legislatures in all three states, which are all controlled by Republicans, refused to change the law to allow the counties to start counting ballots earlier.”
WATCH: Rep. Kelly Discusses The Proposed Bill
To correct that, Kelly has a bill to require all states to start counting mail-in ballots when received, although results could not be released until the polls close.
“County election officials were begging for this change, so that is actually a very good change,” says Walczak.
Republican elections attorney Matt Haverstick is open to the idea but cautious.
“I think there’s some room for coming up with a way to begin canvassing some of these mail-in ballots prior to Election Day, as long as we preserve the ability to make sure that there’s a way to weed out the invalid ones,” says Haverstick.
Kelly’s bill would also increase poll watchers, use video cameras at all drop boxes, prohibit ballot harvesting where one person drops off ballots for others, and require audits of voting systems.
Walczak says he’s okay with security measures but says Kelly’s bill suggests a problem with this election when there was not.
“You’ve had the Homeland Security top election official and county elections boards all across the country come out and say this was the most secure and problem-free election that we’ve had in a very long time,” Walczak said.
But Haverstick cautioned that “we should make a really sincere effort to, on the one hand, protect against fraud because it’s not non-existent.”
No indication yet whether he has the support of Democrats to pass this bill in a chamber the Democrats control.