News Flash

County News & Press Releases

Posted on: November 4, 2021

Tally of Nov. 2 Votes Nears End, Board to Act Next Week on Provisionals, Others

A ballot drop box.

The vast majority of votes cast in this week’s election in Bucks County have been tallied, but some outstanding ballots remain.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Board of Elections had counted 191,476 ballots, a figure reflective of voter turnout of about 40 percent. 

While an indicator atop the county’s unofficial election results page reads “100 percent reported,” this does not mean that all eligible votes cast already have been counted. Rather, it shows that each of the county’s 306 voting precincts has reported votes.

Heading into next week’s Board of Election’s meeting, approximately 2,615 ballots remain outstanding and uncounted. The total number of those votes which will count, however, will be lower as ballots that fail to meet criteria set by law will be rejected.

Among those ballots are 943 provisional ballots cast at polling places. Board of Elections staff will research those ballots, and the board will vote whether to accept them. The board is set to meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, to begin adjudicating provisional and other segregated ballots.

Segregated ballots include those with missing signatures, dates, secrecy envelopes and other issues, have been segregated and are not included in the unofficial results posted online.

The segregated ballots include an estimated 1,145 mail-in or absentee ballots separated after, in most cases, a single voter improperly deposited more than one ballot in a drop box at a time despite warnings from staff manning the boxes.

When an individual wrongly deposits more than one ballot, all ballots contained in the drop box at the time of the deposit are segregated. The board will vote whether to include the ballots in the final tally. 

Other segregated mail-in/absentee ballots include: 

  • 273 “naked” ballots, or ballots which arrived without a secrecy envelope
  • 127 ballots that were not dated
  • 57 ballots with no signature
  • 26 “partially naked” ballots, which arrived in unsealed secrecy envelopes
  • 25 ballots which arrived in secrecy envelopes bearing identifying marks
  • 11 ballots that arrived bearing a date that is out-of-range of the present election
  • 8 ballots which were improperly received

Of the total ballots cast, more than 55,000 were mail-in or absentee, which the Board of Elections received either through the mail or from its 11 ballot drop boxes

In addition, 168 mail-in/absentee ballots were received which, due to mechanical or technical errors, could not be scanned. Those votes will be processed by hand and reflected in an update to be posted Thursday to the unofficial results page.

Military and civilian overseas ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Results will remain “unofficial” until the board meets to certify the results. This typically occurs within a few weeks of the election.

Voters should note that counting is slowed in large part because, by statute, the Board of Elections is prohibited from pre-canvassing ballots prior to 7 a.m. on Election Day. 

The pre-canvassing process, by which mail-in and absentee ballots are opened and prepared for tabulation, is both time and labor intensive. Given additional time to perform this task, the Board of Elections would be better positioned to provide voters with prompt election results.

Efforts to expand the window for pre-canvassing – a goal that has the bipartisan support of the Bucks County Board of Commissioners – have failed repeatedly in Harrisburg.

Media Contact: James O’Malley, 215-348-6414, [email protected]

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