The Lebanon County Commissioners, sitting as the county’s Board of Elections, met on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 10, to decide how to finish counting votes from the Tuesday, Nov. 3 general election.

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Provisional and military ballots reviewed

At the public meeting, the commissioners decided to review 1,286 provisional ballots and 21 military ballots that afternoon at a closed “canvassing meeting,” at which only candidates and party representatives were allowed to be present. Those approved will be counted on Wednesday and Thursday.

The military ballot receipt deadline was 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, so that total was not necessarily final.

The results of the Tuesday afternoon review weren’t available at publication time.

Provisional ballots are issued when a voter’s eligibility is questioned for some reason, and then allowed or rejected by the Board of Elections after election day.

The 1,286 provisionals reviewed on Tuesday were issued to voters who were either sent mail-in ballots but didn’t receive them, or who were issued mail-ins but decided to vote in person at polling places, according to County Bureau of Elections Director Michael Anderson.

“Three day ballots” won’t be counted until Thursday, Nov. 12

Anderson also presented the commissioners with 130 “three day ballots” received by mail after the polls closed at 8:00 p.m. on election night.

The commissioners agreed to hold off counting the three day ballots until they meet on Thurs., Nov. 12. Until then, they will be kept separate, under lock and key, in a Municipal Building vault.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed a three-day extension – until Nov. 6 – for counties to receive mail-in and absentee ballots, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3. or not postmarked. A Republican party appeal of the extension to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected, but Justice Samuel Alito has left the door open to the high court reconsidering the legality of allowing the extra time.

A total of 130 “three day ballots” were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service after the polls closed – 46 on Nov. 4, 76 on Nov. 5, and 8 on Nov. 6. Of those, 14 had no postmark, according to Anderson.

Justice Alito later ordered that all Pennsylvania three day ballots be segregated and secured, and that “all such ballots, if counted, be counted separately.” Anderson said that the county was already putting such ballots aside.

The commissioners also deferred counting about 150 other provisional ballots that were issued for other reasons until Thursday.

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