Two Pennsylvania Counties Have Not Certified Primary Election Results Due To Ongoing Litigation

WASHINGTON D.C. — Centre and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania have not certified the results from the April 23 primary election due to ongoing court cases regarding which ballots should be counted. The certification deadline in Pennsylvania was Monday.

On May 6, Centre County GOP Chair Michelle Schellberg and 17 local voters filed a petition against the county’s board of elections, challenging its decision to count misdated or undated mail-in ballots in the primary election.

The plaintiffs claim that the board of elections counted 95 of these ballots, including several that were missing the month, day, year or had the wrong date entirely. 

Schellberg and the local voters argue that a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in 2022 and a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in 2023 prohibit Pennsylvania counties from counting ballots with these mistakes. 

The county court will hold a hearing for the case tomorrow morning at 9 a.m EDT.

Luzerne County planned to certify the primary election results on Monday, but had to delay it due to an appeal filed by Pennsylvania Rep. Michael Cabell (R), who is three votes behind his GOP primary opponent Jamie Walsh in the race for the 117th House District seat.

Cabell challenged the county’s board of elections, asking officials to tally a provisional ballot and reject a separate ballot because its outer envelope is missing a signature. He also asked election officials to give him credit for write-in votes that said his name, according to local reporting

The board rejected his challenge, so Cabell appealed it in court, and a three-judge panel ruled today in favor of the board, saying that they don’t have to count the write-in votes Cabell requested and that they were correct in including one ballot and not including another that he disputed.

Luzerne County has decided to do a partial certification tomorrow, excluding the 117th House District race, so that the other contests’ results are not held up.

According to local reporting, County Manager Romilda Crocamo said she had not heard of the ruling and did not immediately know when the ballots would be tallied. She said that the board may wait until further appeals are decided.

For now, voters in these counties still do not know who their candidates will be for the 2024 election, even though the primary election was a few weeks ago.

Read more about the Centre County case here.