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Secrecy envelopes will cause electoral chaos, official warns

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Philadelphia’s top elections official is warning of electoral chaos in the presidential battleground state if lawmakers there do not remove a provision in Pennsylvania law that, under a days-old court decision, requires counties to throw out mail-in ballots returned without secrecy envelopes.

Lisa Deeley, chairwoman of the three-member board overseeing Philadelphia’s elections, wrote Monday to the state Legislature’s presiding Republicans to urge them to back legislation to remove a provision she calls unnecessary.

Some 30,000 to 40,000 mail-in ballots could arrive without secrecy envelopes in Philadelphia alone in November’s presidential election, Deeley estimated, and the state Supreme Court’s interpretation of current law forces election officials to throw them out.

Statewide, that could mean throwing out more than 100,000 mail-in ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential election, according to some estimates.

Deeley’s letter comes four days after the state Supreme Court rejected a request by the Democratic Party to clarify the law to allow elections officials to count mail-in ballots that arrive without a secrecy envelope.

The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, supported the Democratic Party’s effort in court. But Republicans, including President Donald Trump’s campaign, have gone to court to ask that mail-in ballots without secrecy envelopes be invalidated.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

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