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Centre County solicitor: ‘We have the green light’

BELLEFONTE — Finally, it’s official.

Centre County’s Board of Elections unanimously approved certification of the the county’s 2020 general election results at a meeting on Monday afternoon.

Monday marked the deadline for counties throughout the Commonwealth to certify results and submit them to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. She will then make her own certification. As is often the case, a handful of counties are expected to be late with their certifications. However, that is not unusual and will have no effect on Pennsylvania’s final certification.

In the presidential election, Democrat and now President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in Centre County with 51.4 percent (40,055 votes) to Trump’s 46.7 percent (36,372 votes). Libertarian Jo Jorgensen picked up 1,066 votes.

Biden carried Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.

On Saturday, a federal judge in Williamsport threw out a lawsuit by the Trump campaign and two Pennsylvania voters against Boockvar and the boards of election of seven counties won by Biden — including Centre — in an attempt to block certification of Pennsylvania’s votes. The Trump campaign has filed a notice of appeal.

“Everything looks good,” said Centre County commissioner Michael Pipe, who is also vice-chair of the Board of Elections.

Pipe said that he spoke to county solicitor Betsy Dupuis regarding the election results.

“She indicated that there’s nothing stopping us from doing the final certification at this point in terms of any court challenges or litigation, so we have the green light,” Pipe said.

The meeting, which was streamed live, featured no public comment. The board of elections is made up of commissioners Pipe, fellow Democrat Mark Higgins and Republican Steve Dershem. Dershem chairs the board.

Out of 112,090 registered voters in Centre County, 78,094 cast ballots in the November election — a turnout of nearly 70 percent. In Pennsylvania’s first general election with mail-in voting, a total of 32,906 mail-in and absentee ballots were cast in the county.

“I want to reiterate one last time the fine work of a lot of people in making all the pieces of this puzzle fit together so effectively and it looks like we’ve perhaps survived the 2020 general election,” Dershem said. “I want to thank everybody again. Hopefully we learned some lessons and the next election cycle might be a bit easier. We shall see.”

Pipe agreed.

“I echo your comments,” Pipe said.

After the statewide certification by Boockvar, Gov. Tom Wolf will notify Biden’s 20 Pennsylvania electors to report to the state Capitol on Dec. 14 to cast their votes in the Electoral College.

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