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Here’s why the thousands of mail-in ballots in Allegheny County can’t be counted until Friday

PITTSBURGH — Many people have wondered why thousands of ballots in Allegheny County haven’t been counted yet.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald addressed the uncounted ballots during a midday update on the election Thursday.

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Fitzgerald said election workers have been working nearly around the clock to process ballots. As of Wednesday night, 675,928 votes have been recorded and put on the state website. In the mail, 313,072 were processed as well.

About 35,000 mail-in ballots need to be reviewed.

In October, a printing error caused 29,000 incorrect mail-in ballots to be sent out in Allegheny County.

Corrected ballots were sent out, but the county was sued by Republican congressional candidates Sean Parnell and Luke Negron to keep those ballots separate.

In a settlement, the county agreed not to count those ballots until the last mail-in ballots are received by the county, which is 5 p.m. Friday.

The remaining ballots weren’t counted due to a long list of issues, including missing signatures, naked ballots and damaged ballots.

For legal reasons, those also can’t be manually examined until Friday.

“All 67 counties are not permitted to swear-in their election board members until three days after the election. First thing tomorrow morning, the election board will be sworn-in to look at those 6,800 ballots,” Fitzgerald said.

While 35,000 ballots will be examined beginning Friday morning, it certainly doesn’t mean that many votes will be added to the total.

Also, some of those voters who received corrected ballots may have voted in-person, disqualifying their mail-in ballots.

Workers are preparing for Friday by organizing and setting up equipment; it is not a day off.