The demographics and geography of Pennsylvania create the conditions for a state torn asunder in November.
Election Integrity Grade
Kathy Boockvar (D)
Appointed - In Office Since 2019
Budget Allocation For Elections: $14,207,000
Per Capita Investment In Elections: $1.11
In Pennsylvania, elections are overseen by the Secretary of State, a state officer appointed by the Governor who serves a four-year term. The current Secretary of State is Democrat Kathy Boockvar. Prior to serving as Secretary of State, Boockvar was Gov Tom Wolf's senior advisor for Election Modernization.
Pennsylvania's recent history as the ultimate swing state is a result of its demographics and geography, which serve as a microcosm of the nation. It also means it is a prime target for disruptive political tactics and, according to a recent article in The Atlantic, the Republican-controlled legislature may subvert the will of the voters and submit a competing slate of electors to the Electoral College.
The Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits attempting to undo changes designed to make voting by mail easier - including the establishment of absentee ballot drop boxes. Oral arguments in the case are set for September 22 - a date that is uncomfortably close to November 3.
Statements on Voter Fraud
The Trump campaign targeted Pennsylvania with a frivolous lawsuit claiming that voter fraud would be rampant in this year's election - the Democratic Secretary of State, Kathy Boockvar, has pushed back hard against this baseless claim. (A)
In the wake of the June primary, Gov. Tom Wolf extended deadlines for receiving and counting mail-in ballots in six - and only six - counties affected by COVID-19. Since then, there have been efforts to prepare for November, but little clarity. (C-)
Support for Vote By Mail
Voting by mail is the focal point of partisan battles in PA. Republicans are attempting to litigate it to death; Democrats and non-partisan election officials are working to ensure the state is ready for up to 50% of the state's ballots to be cast by mail. (C)
Pennsylvania uses voting machines that do not provide a paper record, and many of its post-election audit procedures fall short of security best practices. This combination leaves the state vulnerable to a potentially chaotic recount. (D)
Pennsylvania's political construction - a swath of red districts between two large blue cities - makes it a hotbed for increasing partisanship. This manifests itself in wildly undemocratic plots and a desperate struggle to redraw districts in 2021. (D)
Despite past images of long lines in Philadelphia precincts, Pennsylvania's performance in recent elections has been in the average range according to MIT's Elections Performance Index. The state expects high turnout this year. (C)
KEY PUBLIC STATEMENTS
Lamont McClure Jr
Northampton County Executive
I'd die before I let this election be rigged. There are some things that are greater in importance than a partisan victory: the sanctity and integrity of our elections.
Secretary of State
Every component piece of the process [of vote by mail] requires more — more dollars, more space, more staffing, more equipment. And earlier timelines.
Common Cause PA
Not only did the Trump campaign fail to provide evidence that voter fraud was a widespread problem in Pennsylvania, they failed to provide any evidence that so-called voter fraud is any sort of regular problem in Pennsylvania.