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Fact check: Post mixes Pennsylvania primary and general election data to suggest vote-by-mail irregularities

Three weeks after major news outlets called the 2020 U.S. presidential race for Joe Biden, Doug Mastriano, a state senator for Pennsylvania’s 33rd district, suggested on Twitter there were voting irregularities in his key battleground state, with over a million “extra” mail-in votes counted. This claim, which combines mail-in vote totals from the June 2020 primary election with totals for the Nov. 3 general election, is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Echoing President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud, Mastriano tweeted an image purportedly showing “Pennsylvania official votes (@11/24 8 PM)” broken down by candidate and vote method. The text below reads: “Pennsylvania reports having mailed out 1,823,148 ballots, of which 1,462,302 were returned. Yet total mail-in voters number 2,589,242? From where did the extra 1,126,940 votes come?”

Mastriano’s Nov. 27 tweet, which includes the caption: “This was posted on our Department of State dashboard but had since been deleted,” is available here . Facebook and Instagram posts sharing the claim can be found here and here .

The posts’ figures for 1,823,148 mailed out and 1,462,302 mail-in ballots returned correspond with Pennsylvania’s data for this year’s primary elections, held on June 2, 2020. Contrary to Mastriano’s claim that the data “was posted on our Department of State dashboard but had since been deleted,” the data is still available:  here .

As noted underneath the data table linked above, there were 1,823,148 mail ballot requests for the 2020 primary elections in Pennsylvania. According to page 10 of a Pennsylvania Department of State report published on Aug. 1 (here), 1,459,555 mail-in and absentee ballots were successfully cast in the primaries.

Meanwhile, the table included in the post closely reflects state-reported numbers for the 2020 general election. According to the Pennsylvania Department of State’s reports on election returns (www.electionreturns.pa.gov/), more than 2.6 million Pennsylvanians voted by mail for either Trump, Biden or Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen in the general election. There were 595,538 votes by mail for Trump, 1,995,691 for Biden and 53,318 for Jorgensen.

VERDICT

False. Mixing numbers from the 2020 primary and general elections, this claim that there were 1,126,940 “extra” Pennsylvania mail-in votes counted in the general election is false.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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