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In Battleground Pennsylvania, Votes Are Still Being Tabulated

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And again that breaking news is that Joe Biden now leads Pennsylvania by more than 5,000 votes. A little bit earlier this morning, as the count was moving in Joe Biden's direction, we got on the phone with John Fetterman. He is the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

JOHN FETTERMAN: There is not one county or region in Pennsylvania where those ballots don't skew wildly to Joe Biden, whether it's 60-40 - and even out of Philadelphia, it's as high as 90-10, you know? So it's math at this point. And it's inevitable in Pennsylvania how the count's going to go. So I mean, it's just a reality here on the ground.

INSKEEP: I want to just emphasize also because the president has sought to make this a partisan issue. He's falsely said the Democrats are counting in Georgia, where most officials are Republican, for example.

FETTERMAN: Of course.

INSKEEP: I do know that you're a Democrat. There are plenty of Democrats involved in the counting in Pennsylvania. But is it correct that this is a nonpartisan process also in Pennsylvania that involves both Democrats and Republicans?

FETTERMAN: Of course. Your listeners can - and I encourage them to follow Commissioner Al Schmidt in Philadelphia. He's a Republican voting commissioner who's helping oversee it and manage it, literally. And you can go online and watch them count it on the Internet from anywhere in the world. So this idea - like, I hate to even have to say this because it lends credence to these outrageous statements and lies about the process not being open and transparent.

You know, our election in Pennsylvania went, you know, just incredibly well - no voter fraud, no voter intimidation, anything. And we are counting these ballots. And it's taking this long because the Republican legislature refused to allow even a 24-hour extra window to pre-canvass these mail-in ballots. But now they didn't. So now they're saying, well, why is it taking so long? Well, it's because you wouldn't let the state pre-canvass earlier so we could get a result more quickly. So we are getting it...

INSKEEP: There was an argument over whether preparatory steps could be taken before the closing of the polls. Right.

FETTERMAN: Exactly. And they...

INSKEEP: Now, when - if I might, though, when the president falsely claims, as he did last night, that there's some kind of fraud somewhere - and again, he offered no evidence for that. He didn't even really try to back up his case, he just made it. How, if at all, does that affect the work of ballot counters in Pennsylvania?

FETTERMAN: It doesn't. The president, sadly, has just assumed the role of some random Internet troll, saying, you know, pointless, outlandish things. And I just tune it out. It's just - I don't care how big your microphone is, it doesn't make a lie any more true. And the fact of the matter is the count is going fine in Pennsylvania. The math is inevitable.

INSKEEP: Let me ask you, Lieutenant Governor, about security. I'm told that Philadelphia police are investigating some kind of plot to attack a convention center where votes are being counted. What have you learned?

FETTERMAN: I mean, I know what you know in terms of what's being read and whatever. But again, it's just contributing to this atmosphere of chaos, you know? You know, everyone just needs to take a deep breath and realize that all these forecasts of doom and gloom about our election were - didn't come to pass. As I've consistently said, you know, we have this process well under control. We are counting. And we're wrapping up after the largest election we've ever had in our commonwealth.

And the results will be true and will absolutely reflect the democratic will of our residents. That's a fact. And I will never tweet out anything, nor will my governor tweet out anything that Twitter has to slap a warning on like a pack of cigarettes. Any statement coming from any Pennsylvania official is going to be true, based on facts and in reality. No warnings are going to be necessary on social media.

INSKEEP: John Fetterman is the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. Lieutenant Governor Fetterman, thanks so much for the time, really appreciate it.

FETTERMAN: Thank you.

INSKEEP: And as we look at the map at npr.org, Pennsylvania and Georgia now tinted blue, the vote counts there favoring Joe Biden, although the counting continues. And we will bring you the truth as we learn it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.