Pennsylvania Election Day Results
Current Pennsylvania voting results are announced when enough early, mail-in, and in person votes have been counted to accurately predict who the victor will be.
Election Day voting in Pennsylvania
Registered voters can choose to vote in person on election day in Pennsylvania. Federal elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1 in even years. Federal elections can be held no earlier than November 2 and no later than November 8.
Voters who choose to vote in person on election day must cast their ballot at the correct polling place. Voters using their designated polling station for the first time must provide a valid identification in order to vote. Those who have voted at their polling location before do not need to provide identification in order to vote.
Voting early and by mail in Pennsylvania
Any registered voter in Pennsylvania can vote early in-person or request to vote by mail. Election workers in Pennsylvania can't begin to process votes cast early until the morning of an election, so there is a possibility a winner won't be declared for days or even weeks.
Pennsylvania does publish the number of ballots cast early along with the political affiliation of the person who voted, but does not publish actual votes cast early because they won't be processed until election day. However, the political affiliation of a voter still gives the media and general population alike an opportunity to reliably predict who a particular voter cast a ballot for.
Pennsylvania Governor, Senate, and House elections
Pennsylvania votes for governor every four years at the same time as midterm elections for the House and Senate. The governor serves a four year term and can serve two consecutive terms. There is no lifetime limit on the number of times a governor can be elected, but a governor must sit out at least one term before being able to run office again. Residents of Pennsylvania will vote for governor next in 2022 and then in 2026 and 2030.
Pennsylvania's two Senators are in class I and III. Voters in the state will next vote for a Senator in 2022 and 2024 and then again in 2028 and 2030. Each Senator is elected to a six-year term.
There are currently 18 U.S. Representatives serving in Congress from Pennsylvania, a number which may change after the 2020 census results are announced. Each Representative is elected to a two-year term.
Election day exit polls and declaring a winner
Major media organizations conduct exit polls throughout the state of Pennsylvania in order to get a general idea of where a race may be headed. In recent years, media organizations have combined exit polls with other traditional polling methods to factor in votes cast early by mail and in person.
The Associated Press and Reuters are the two main organizations who call local, state, and federal elections in Pennsylvania. Major media organizations and newspapers like CNN, ABC/NBC/CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and FiveThirtyEight work closely with them and also conduct their own exit polls in order to accurately report when a winner has been declared.
Early Voting and Election Polls
Pennsylvania allows early voting for all federal and state elections. Voters who wish to vote early must request their ballots before a predetermined date in order to be able to vote early.
Registered voters can vote early at their county election office or satellite county election office during the predetermined hours they are open. Additionally, voters can drop their ballots in a secure drop box which are placed in locations throughout the state.
Every registered voter is also able to cast a mail-in ballot. Voters must request their mail-in ballot ahead of each election and the ballot must be postmarked by election day.
Major national and local organizations conduct polls for President, Governor, Senators, and Congressmen. Some polls are conducted over landline and cellphones while others are conducted online.
Premiere Election polls
New York Times
Declaring a Winner
A winner is declared in Pennsylvania when it is clear a candidate has or will have more votes than any other candidate. Typically the winner will be called by The Associated Press and/or Reuters and then relayed to the American people by local and national media outlets.
Major Pennsylvania media outlets
The Scranton Times-Tribune
National media outlets
New York Times
Pennsylvania Recount Rules
Pennsylvania law mandates an automatic recount if the margin of an election is less than or equal to 0.5% votes. If there is an automatic recount, it must be ordered by the state Secretary of State on the second Thursday following the election, begin no later than the third Wednesday following the election, and completed no later than 12:00 p.m. on the following Tuesday.
Candidates may also request a full or partial recount for any reason as long as they do so within five days of an election. The candidate requesting the recount must pay for it, but all costs associated with the recount are refunded if the results are reversed, there's a substantial error, or fraud.
No major state or federal election in Pennsylvania has ever been reversed following an automatic or requested recount.
Candidates may also file a state or federal lawsuit if they feel state or federal laws were violated during the course of an election. Most election related lawsuits are settled before an election takes place, but there are occasions when the courts have gotten involved, most notoriously during the 2000 Presidential election when the U.S. Supreme Court intervened and effectively stopped a recount taking place in Florida and delivering the Presidency to George W. Bush.