HARRISBURG — Republican legislative leaders in Harrisburg say they do not intend to get involved in any post-election challenges.
President Donald Trump has raised the possibility that he may challenge the Nov. 3 election results if they do not show him as the winner.
In separate interviews, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, both said that they do not anticipate the Legislature will seek to intervene to dispute election results.
“When the election happens, the results will come in, there will be winners and losers and we’ll all move on from there,” Corman, R-Centre County said. “I don’t foresee us having any room or any desire to intervene after the election,” he said.
Benninghoff, R-Centre County, agreed, saying, “That is not our role.”
As a result, election winners may not be immediately clear on Election Night if the contests are close. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by 44,000 votes.
Neither legislative leader expressed any interest in seeking to intervene in the event that the apparent winner of the election changes after Election Day once those mail-in ballots are counted.
Both said that any challenge to the election results would come from the campaigns of the candidates rather than from the Legislature.
“Mail-in is part of the process. Hopefully, people will be able to count them in a timely fashion,” Corman said. “I’m sure the campaigns will have people monitoring the situation and if they believe there are legal issues, they can address that with the court as the tabulation unfolds. I don’t see any role for the Legislature to intervene in that process. Our position is to set the Election Code to have a fair election,” Corman said.
“I’m sure the campaigns will have people monitoring the situation and if they believe there are legal issues, they can address that with the court as the tabulation unfolds,” Corman said.
Corman and Benninghoff both also said that they don’t believe there is an opportunity for the Legislature to intervene to prevent the state’s 20 electoral votes from being awarded to the candidate that wins the popular vote in the state.
An article published by The Atlantic indicated that state Republican officials have had conversations about whether the Legislature could move to appoint electors rather than allow the electors to be awarded based on the apparent winner in the state’s election.
“We will have no role post-election in changing outcomes,” Benninghoff said. “Our role is to prevent these types of problems prior to the election by passing smart legislation that addresses the concerns of those we represent.”
The state Legislature only has three session days scheduled before the election, leaving little room for additional action.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said that state and county officials still hope lawmakers pass a bill that will allow counties to begin preparing mail-in ballots for counting so that results are available more quickly.
Even if the Legislature doesn’t act on that issue, she said election results should be available “in days not weeks.”
Many county election offices are planning to count mail-in ballots “24/7” until they have results, Boockvar said. In addition, many counties have acquired equipment to automatically open envelopes and quickly scan ballots to speed up the counting process.