A petition to count all votes in Pennsylvania, including provisional ballots is closing in on 150,000 signatures. The initiative comes from Pittsburgh resident and community organizer Eva Resnick-Day, was approaching 130,000 names early Thursday.
Signatures are being collected despite the Republican Party efforts to block the counting of provisional ballots.
A Newsweek report holds that most of the votes now swinging the race one way or the other are absentee mail-in ballots. In some states, they are being counted after the in-person voting from Election Day. Pennsylvania is particularly close, and its 20 Electoral College votes could represent the key to the White House.
The absentee ballots have been breaking favorably for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, handing him wins in Wisconsin and Michigan. They have been putting him within touching distance of President Donald Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania and Georgia.
“The voters we reached were voters who never received their mail in ballot and weren’t sure quite where to go to have their vote counted. Voters who didn’t even know they were on a mail in ballot list, and were told to vote provisional ballots at their polls,” Eva Resnick-Day wrote about the petition to count them.
Resnick-Day is an organizer with Greenpeace USA’s democracy campaign, working to get fossil fuel money out of politics and restore the right to vote.
Her petition to count provisional ballots is considering voters with disabilities. “Voters with disabilities, immunocompromised, elderly or sick that either didn’t receive their mail in ballot or whose ballot wasn’t received by mail, and needed coordinated assistance to have their ballots counted,” she added. “Despite these hurdles, we’re seeing record turnout. Every single one of these votes must count.”
Those using provisional ballots are more likely those disenfranchised by strict voting laws, including minorities and those who cannot immediately prove their identity or a place of residence.
On the other hand, Republicans in Pennsylvania are suing to prevent those voters whose mail-in ballots were rejected from submitting provisional ballots. They claim that notifying these voters to tell them their mail-in ballots were rejected is prohibited under state election laws that prevent officials from revealing early results.
The petition to count provisional votes reads that “Republicans are currently working persistently through the courts to invalidate tens of thousands of votes of hardworking Pennsylvania voters who simply missed their ‘secrecy envelope’ or a signature and showed up in person to correct it. All of these voters deserve to have their voice and vote heard.”
The Trump campaign has taken legal action to try and stop vote counting in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, and is demanding a recount in Wisconsin which has been called for Biden.