Found: The stolen election Republicans keep going on about.
Result: 10,920 Pennsylvania Democrats cheated out of their votes.
The November Pennsylvania court decision that canceled mail-in ballots that lacked accurate handwritten dates on their exterior envelope resulted in valid votes being canceled. Democrats made up 2/3 of the total canceled votes.
That means that over ten thousand Pennsylvania voters had their votes tossed for no reason. They are eligible to vote and they did vote. They did so properly, except they might have put in the wrong date or left the date off or not signed it properly on the outer envelope or failed to include the second “secrecy” envelope.
“The Department of State said this week more than 16,000 mail-in ballots were disqualified by county officials because they lacked secrecy envelopes or proper signatures or dates. Democratic voters, who are much more likely to vote by mail, made up more than two-thirds of the total canceled ballots,” The AP reported.
“Democrats had 10,920 votes thrown out, about half for lacking secrecy envelopes. Republicans saw 3,503 ballots forfeited. Independents and third parties amounted to 1,731 votes that did not count in the fall election.”
While many cities worked to “cure” votes, that is to allow the voter to fix the errors, others didn’t.
A coalition of GOP groups, including the Republican National Committee and the state party, filed a lawsuit late Sunday night asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to block undated mail ballots from being counted.
The AP detailed some of the legal fights, including the failure of negotiations between Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the Republican legislative (then) leaders about ending the exterior envelope date requirement, Republican lawmakers defending the need for the requirements, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in May that the dates were “immaterial,” but the Republican-led U.S. Supreme Court then ruling that decision moot.
A battle to determine if qualified voters can have their votes counted. That’s what this is. And when they aren’t counted, it has historically hurt Democrats and benefited Republicans.
This Republican-led “fight” against counting votes with undated outer envelopes dates to the election Trump lost in 2020. A more direct way of putting this is Republicans sought every way they could find to invalidate votes that were going to be majority Democrats.
When this eventually failed, they then sought to appoint “alternative electors” to just invalidate the millions of votes in states that didn’t go their way. At the same time, their party leader and then president incited a domestic terrorist attack in an attempt to keep power.
The Republican Party is not the “freedom party,” and that is an understatement at this point.
It won’t surprise readers to discover that the 2020 Trump campaign lodged a lawsuit alleging that the ballot curing happened along partisan lines, with then White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany accusing the then top election official in the state of using ballot curing as a way to “tip the scales of an election to functionally favor the Democrat Party.”
So many lies, so much projection.
In reality, all counties got the same guidance, but some didn’t notify voters and others did.
Counties that didn’t even allow the ballot curing tried to claim the October 21, 2020 guidance they received was too late, but in Pennsylvania, election officials can’t even begin their review of of mail-in ballots until 7AM on election day.
Even in Republicans’ own lawsuits, the facts proved that the red counties not allowing ballot curing hurt Democratic voters more than Republicans.
In the “red counties” cited in one Republican lawsuit, however, Biden outperformed Trump in the mail-in ballot vote, often by considerable margins. By not allowing voters to cure ballots, those counties were more likely to hurt Democratic voters than Republicans.
Republicans were urging their voters not to use mail-in ballots. Trump fear-mongered about them consistently. So when they decided not to allow curing in some counties in 2020, they had a pretty good idea which party that was hurting.
Here we are after the midterms finding out that once again, Republicans canceled Democrats’ votes.
In 2020, some measure of this was laid at the feet of the state Democratic party, because they requested decisions on the secrecy ballot among other measures intended to protect mail-in ballots. (The nerve of the party wanting all qualified votes to be counted.) This 2020 action resulted in the court ruling that the GOP-led legislature had intended for the secrecy envelope to be “mandatory.”
Is this secrecy envelope obsession normal? No. It’s actually rare.
Charles Stewart, an MIT political science professor who studies American elections, said “Rejection because of the lack of a secrecy envelope is so rare that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission doesn’t ask about it in their post-election Election Administration and Voting Survey.”
Another expert weighed in to say the secrecy envelope is not even necessary.
Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, who heads the voting information nonprofit U.S. Vote Foundation, said in the same above Whyy article, “I can tell you in no uncertain terms that we do believe in the confidentiality of each person’s vote as the ultimate goal, but we do not agree that it should be used for grounds for ballot rejection. That is extreme.”
Pennsylvania’s bicameral legislature has been Republican-ruled for a decade. The lower chamber is now narrowly Democratic-led after the 2022 midterms.
Democrat Mark Moffa conceded the last state House race for Bucks County’s 142nd District to Republican Joseph Hogan while the Republican had a 53-vote lead, which the Democrat stood to narrow but didn’t see a win.
As a person who has been a registered voter in four different states, Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot rules are the most prohibitive and stressful. They are difficult to complete properly, due in part to their unnecessary stupidity and busy work. Add in people who aren’t detail oriented, can’t read easily, are older – it’s an unfair and pointless obstacle.
The party that says it’s against cancel culture works hard to cancel elections and opposing votes. There isn’t a more egregious cancel culture than canceling someone’s fundamental right to vote.
Ten thousand, nine hundred and twenty Democratic voters’ had their votes canceled. Every single qualified voter whose vote was canceled by this unnecessary rule and the failure to push for curing has been wrongfully disenfranchised.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.