Report: Battleground State PA Rejects 372,000 Ballot Applications, 90% of Which Were Duplicates

Swing state Pennsylvania, which President Donald Trump narrowly won in the 2016 election, has thrown out 372,000 requests for mail-in ballots, a new report says.

About 336,000, or 90 percent, of those were duplicate requests for ballots that the state denied “primarily because people who had requested mail-in ballots for the state’s June 2 primary did not realize that they had checked a box to be sent ballots for the general election, too,” according to the article published by The Philadelphia Inquirer and the website ProPublica.

The rejected requests came from 208,000 voters, according to the report, including one voter who appeared to submit 11 duplicate requests.

The outlets said they were able to identify “hundreds of voters who submitted three or more duplicate applications.”

Some cite voter unfamiliarity as the culprit, because Pennsylvania voters had the option of becoming what the state calls permanent mail-in voters, but may not have remembered doing so.

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“States that have large numbers of successful mail voters, pre-pandemic, have educated their voters about this process over decades, and Pennsylvania is trying to do this in a matter of months,” said David Becker, founder and executive director of Center for Election Innovation & Research in Washington, D.C.

“Because becoming a permanent mail-in voter is new, this is the first time that they would automatically receive a ballot without having to apply for it,” added Sarah Seymour, elections director in central Pennsylvania’s Blair County, where more than one-quarter of applications for mail-in ballots were duplicates.

“They’re unsure, so they’re sending in another application.”

The report also cited the impact of groups handing out mail-in ballot applications which individuals file regardless of whether they have already filed one.

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These groups have created “confusion for voters and the likelihood that voters will not realize their application has been processed and they don’t need to submit another one,” the Pennsylvania Department of State said.

“[S]ome voters may have forgotten that they opted to be put on the annual mail ballot list when they applied for a ballot for the June primary,” the agency added.

The deluge of duplicates has left local elections officials frazzled.

“The volume of calls we have been getting has been overwhelming,” Marybeth Kuznik, elections director in Armstrong County, told the outlets. “It has been almost like a denial of service attack at times because it seemed that sometimes all I could get done was answer the phone!”

Democrat Craig Sewall, 33, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, said the state emailed him this summer and urged him to apply for a mail-in ballot, and after he did, rejected it as a duplicate.

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“I’ve been fairly persistent and I’m pretty disillusioned” in trying to get answers, he said, but local officials have not been able to answer his questions.

Amie Downs, an Allegheny County spokesperson, admitted communication has been an uphill battle.

“We continue to try to speak with everyone,” she said. “Even with the addition of extra telephone lines, a queue and the assistance of our call center, callers are still having difficulty getting through.”

Duplicate ballots are not the only issue.

On Wednesday, Allegheny County announced that 28,879 voters received incorrect ballots due to a printing error.

Throughout this election season, President Donald Trump has denounced mass mail-in voting as a recipe for election fraud.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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