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Bipartisan Observers Watch Allegheny County Return Board Tackle Tens Of Thousands Uncounted Ballots

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - There are still tens of thousands of ballots in Allegheny County not yet counted.

The process has been underway inside the election warehouse on the North Side. On Friday, an Allegheny County spokesperson said the workers decided not to break for lunch, instead, working through until 4 p.m. Counting for the day finished up around 11 p.m.

Counting will resume at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

All of the workers, about 80, are with the return board. There are authorized representatives from both parties, and they've been walking around and keeping a close eye on the process.

WATCH: KDKA's Andy Sheehan reports

"The Trump campaign, the Biden campaign, they're watching everything done. There's cameras everywhere, so everything's being recorded," says Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

What is the return board exactly?

According to Fitzgerald, that board includes dozens of elections employees. The public and poll watchers will be able to watch the process as well.


The board will examine 6,800 ballots that have "issues," like if for example they got damaged or were missing a secrecy envelope, also known as a "naked" ballot.

Under state law, counties cannot swear in a return board until three days after an election.

Around 9 a.m., Fitzgerald and Councilman Sam DeMarco made remarks before the return board was sworn in. Both talked about how proud they were of the workers for the time they put into this election and their patience.

WATCH: KDKA's Lindsay Ward reports

Republican Committee observer Nicole Nino gave the process high marks for transparency.

"I think it's run dry, methodically. It's very well organized, I've been impressed," said Nino.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald says there are about 29,000 ballots that have been ordered by a federal court to not be handled or processed until 5 p.m. Friday.

These 29,000 ballots were originally sent out by the county's third-party mailing company, Midwest Direct, with the wrong information.

As for the 29,000 ballots, Fitzgerald says that could take a while: "It might take a couple of days to do that one."

"If Jane Doe returned two, we put them both together," said Allegheny County Elections Division Manager David Voye. "That way we can decide which ballot should be counted. And we're going to segregate and not count the wrong ballot."

There are also 883 of those controversial ballot postmarked before 8 p.m. Election Day but received over the past two days. They'll counted, but won't be included in vote totals pending any court challenges.

As of Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the county said there wasn't an exact number, but the Elections Division estimated there are 17,000 provisional ballots and they expect that number to grow.

Those provisional ballots will extend into next week. These workers have already put in some long days and night and are looking at quite a few more.

Friday morning, a van full of military ballots were also dropped off at the warehouse.

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