MY LAST ELECTIONS BLOG POST… until the next one…

Many of you know that I’ve spent most of my legal career involved with elections administration and law. So, after resolving some 700 Provisional Ballot challenges at a Saturday hearing, on November 14th, I have some thoughts:

  1. AIN’T NO ELECTION FRAUD!!! Not in Allegheny County, PA, the other 66 PA Counties or anywhere else in the US where we voted on November 3. Baseless allegations and reports to the contrary, there might be inadvertent errors, which will be corrected upon final tabulation, but no fraud, scheme, conspiracy, skullduggery and/or chicanery. None
  2. Anyone who assets that there was fraud in last week’s elections is a lying fool, to assert these things or believe these things
  3. It might be good for business, for media or others but these fraud allegations, insult and defame tens of thousands of people, who have taken sworn oaths, to process voters and votes properly, according to law. I count myself as one of the people who have been defamed and whose integrity has been questioned
  4. One may not like the results of an election, but just because “your” candidate lost, does not indicate fraud. Consider the simple proposition that the candidate that receives the most votes wins the election. Basic functioning of the American electoral system
  5. Attacks on the validity of our elections system over the years has and continues to undermine confidence in our system of elections and vote tallying
  6. Elections are like buses. Another one is coming along, with a new set of candidates and issues

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, do your best to appreciate and protect our system of selecting our representatives, locally and nationally. Please.

– Allan Opsitnick



Media reports and statements of public officials are creating an avalanche of perception that whatever vote totals exist on Tuesday night are somehow dispositive of the November 3 Election. NOT EVEN CLOSE TO TRUE.

Every state and each of Pennsylvania’s 67 Counties has a formal vote tabulation process. Pennsylvania requires that the Friday after the Election a “Return Board” be sworn and seated to commence the formal and official vote count. In Allegheny County, the Return Board is comprised of Elections Division employees for the most part.
Does that mean that everything that we see and hear on Tuesday night, into Wednesday, is unofficial? YES!

Taking Allegheny County, PA for example, Tuesday begins a scanning and count of approximately 350,000 mail-in ballots, that are securely stored, in addition to a like number of in person votes on Election Day, with polls remaining open until 8:00 PM. While this is a monumental task and will take some time, it is likely that by end of day Wednesday these votes will be tabulated and posted on the Elections web page. BUT WAIT,THERE’S MORE!

Certain military ballots need not be returned for an additional week to be counted. Thousands of Provisional Ballots that will be cast on Election Day will be examined by the Return Board to see if they are counted and, if so, to what extent. And, at least for Tuesday’s Presidential Election, the PA Supreme Court has ruled that mail-in ballots received after the 8:00 PM close of polls, but postmarked on or before November 3, and received by November 6, at 5:00 PM shall be counted. That count, of course, cannot begin before Friday at 5:00.

You get the picture, I certainly hope. There is much to do after the whistle blows at 8:00 PM on Tuesday. So, as always, patience is a virtue.

Allan Opsitnick