By Joe Holden

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — Counties in Pennsylvania are getting ready to count the hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots Tuesday. The number of visits by both the Trump and Biden campaigns suggests Pennsylvania is still very much in play as both sides try to reach undecided voters.

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Meanwhile, in Chester County, ballot processing will start at 7 a.m. Tuesday. While many ballots have already been cast, the candidates believe they can still get their message to the undecideds.

2020 Election Guide: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware

Speed, efficiency and paper cuts — there will be a lot of that going on inside a West Chester gym as Chester County workers start processing 120,000 mail-in and absentee ballots this morning.

“It takes a lot of people hands-on, doing some very manual labor, and that is probably the most daunting and labor intensive part of that process,” said Alexis Barsamian, Chester County’s deputy director of Voter Services.

These machines can move 5,000 ballots an hour altogether. That means they’ll be going full-steam for no less than an entire day.

“The biggest thing with paper ballots, although they are the gold standard, is the amount of manipulation, back-bending, folding and straightening that they need to have done to them before they can go through the high-speed scanner,” Barsamian said.

Election officials in Delaware County are also ready to start processing 153,000 mail-in ballots first thing Tuesday.

They’re hoping to stay ahead of the curve, they say, and have as much of it out of the way by the time polls close at 8 p.m. That’s when in-person voting returns will start circulating into the system.

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“If you went to the trouble of voting, which I hope you did, just know that your vote’s gonna count. We might not have all the results in tomorrow night, on election night. Our hope is to get as many in as possible, but please know that your vote will be counted,” said Delaware County Interim Director of Voter Services Marianne Jackson.

Montgomery County is sorting through 200,000 mail-in ballots. Eyewitness News was at the County Board of Elections in Norristown where county employees are hard at work sorting the ballots by towns and precincts.

Initial results of mail-in ballots for Montgomery County are expected to be posted starting at 8:30 p.m.

All of the district attorneys in Pennsylvania — in all 67 counties — will be at the ready to make sure that there are no problems at the polls.

All of the courts of common pleas will have specially-assigned judges to hear matters who will be at the ready to address any problems as they may crop up.


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