Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said it is “not quite clear” who the winner of the presidential election is, saying it is a “close race” in the key battleground state.
Boockvar held a highly anticipated press briefing Thursday evening, as the results of the 2020 presidential race hung in limbo in a number of key battleground states, days after Election Day.
“Stay tuned,” Boockvar said.
“It is very close in Pennsylvania. There is no question that means it is going to take longer to actually see the winner,” Boockvar continued, adding that “several hundred thousand ballots remain to be counted.”
“The closer the race is, the longer it takes,” she continued. “The overwhelmingly majority of ballots will be counted by Friday — we have counted the overwhelming majority, but because it is a close race, it is not quite clear who the winner is.”
Boockvar added that the ballots they are counting are mail-in ballots, absentee ballots, and in-person votes, noting that there still will be “provisional ballots” and those cast by those in the military, noting that those would be counted following the completion of the count of the other types of ballots.
Boockvar maintained, though, that the state has “strong processes in place to make sure voter security and integrity are constantly followed by every county in the state.”
Addressing concerns surrounding mail-in ballots, Boockvar said that while the process is “new” in the state, it is the “same process we have been using for decades for absentee voting.”
“The counties are continuing to count,” she said. “So you know, the final results are not certified until 20 days after the election, so there are no final results anyway.”
The Trump campaign filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, urging access to poll watching.
An appellate court judge on Thursday cleared the way for the Trump campaign to more closely observe the canvassing of ballots by the Philadelphia County Board of Elections. Poll watchers were initially required to remain at least 25 feet away from tables where people were carrying on the task of scanning mail and absentee ballots inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon issued an order requiring “all candidates, watchers, or candidate representatives be permitted to be present for the canvassing process” and “be permitted to observe all aspects of the canvassing process within 6 feet, while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”
The order was to go into effect immediately, or no later than 10:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 5.
The city of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party appealed the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, whose justice will decide whether to grant or deny the appeal.
But when asked about the Trump campaign’s legal action, Boockvar maintained that “partisan politics have no place in the Pennsylvania Office of State.”
“I will do everything in my power to make sure every voter, every candidate and every party have access to a fair, free and safe election,” Boockvar said. “I don’t care what their background is or what my background is.”
Two days after Election Day, neither candidate had amassed the votes needed to win the White House. But Biden’s victories in the Great Lakes states left him at 264, according to the Fox News Decision Desk, meaning he was one battleground state away from becoming president-elect.
Trump, with 214 electoral votes, faced a much higher hurdle. To reach 270, he needed to claim all four remaining battlegrounds: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada. Trump generally was projected to receive a larger in-person voter turnout on Election Day, while Biden was thought to see a larger turnaround through vote by mail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.