This story originally appeared on WITF
Pennsylvania’s Department of State said the rules for counting votes are designed to ensure nobody can tamper with the process and the procedures are clear: vote counters aren’t allowed to be alone with ballots.
That reminder comes as former President Donald Trump suggested Republican “vote counters” can interfere in the ballot counting process in the next election.
Trump sent a video message to Lawrence County Republicans and suggested that the workers who count the votes could influence who wins.
“We’re gonna have to be a lot sharper the next time when it comes to counting the vote,” Trump said. “There’s a famous statement: sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate.”
Trump falsely claims that he won Pennsylvania when in fact he lost by more than 80,000 votes.
A judge and two inspectors, who are all elected, oversee vote casting on election day.
“Judges don’t have discretion to change the law and to make decisions about who gets to vote or about counting votes or not counting votes,” said Susan Gobreski of the League of Women Voters.
The Department of State said in an email election workers of both parties then seal and transport ballot materials from voting precincts to a county election office on Election Night.
Extensive poll worker training and guidance shows once a polling place sends in its ballots, they have to be double checked by county election officials.
The ballots are counted and re-counted, a process that’s open to a representative for each candidate and party.
The idea behind all those layers is to make election cheating difficult, if not impossible.
The Department of State added security measures like data encryption and network monitoring help prevent tampering with Pennsylvania’s voting systems.
County, state and federal judges and public officials of both political parties, and election experts, have concluded the 2020 election was free and fair. Pennsylvania legally certified its electoral votes Dec. 14, and multiple courts dismissed election-challenge cases for reasons including lack of evidence and lack of standing to sue.