Stalemates, court battles could squeeze Pa. primary election

MARC LEVY
Associated Press

HARRISBURG — More extreme time pressures could push the bounds of how Pennsylvania's elections are run in 2022, with wide-open races for a U.S. Senate seat and the governor's office driving voter interest and partisan stalemates in the statehouse sowing uncertainty.

It is barely a month before candidates can legally start gathering signatures to qualify for primary ballots and Pennsylvania still has no new map of district boundaries for congressional seats and state legislative seats.

A court battle looks inevitable, potentially shortening the primary campaign period for candidates for Congress and the Legislature and squeezing the timeline for counties to finalize and mail out ballots.

More:Who's ready for new maps? Redistricting panel OKs preliminary maps

More:How to weigh in on Pennsylvania’s next legislative maps

The House State Government Committee is set to vote on a proposed map Monday, but the debate over what the final product should be will last weeks.

Meanwhile, despite two years of asking, counties remain unable to persuade the Republican-controlled Legislature to simply grant their request to let them process mailed-in ballots before Election Day.

The vast majority of states allow it — including big Republican-controlled states like Florida, Georgia and Texas — and that hang-up in 2020's presidential election dragged out counting, fomented a legion of baseless conspiracy theories launched by former President Donald Trump and kept the winner of Pennsylvania's electoral votes in limbo until the Saturday after the election.

“State government is failing us again," said Forrest Lehman, the elections director in Lycoming County.