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Fact check: Data showing ballots mailed to voters and received by the state the same day is not proof of voter fraud

Social media users have been sharing a video online that claims data from the Pennsylvania Department of State reveals voter fraud as it shows ballots were mailed to voters and received by the state on the same day. This claim is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples can be seen here and here .

The video discusses a dataset on Pennsylvania’s “Open data PA” website, which shows data on local topics, such as healthcare, education and COVID-19. The dataset shown in the video can be found here .

In the one-minute TikTok video, the narrator says: “The following information [is] straight from the PA.gov website and has almost 3.1 million entries. I exported all that information into an excel sheet, but I was cut off at about 1 million rows, so keep in mind we’re working with one third of the whole data set.”

“So, the first thing I do is create a column to see if any ballots were mailed out by the government the same day that they were received filled out through the mail by the voter. Turns out, about 11,000 were filled out by the voter and returned back to the government the same day the government mailed them out to the voter.”

“I then created a column to see if there were any applications that were approved by the government, mailed out by the government, received by that voter and then filled out by the voter and mailed back to the government on the same day. And there were 8205 cases of that.”

“And lastly, I created a column to see if there are any ballots that were received through the mail, filled out before they were even mailed out by the government. There were 7403 cases of that.”

Wanda Murren, Director of the Office of Communications and Press for Pennsylvania Department of State, told Reuters via email: “Under the provisions of Act 77 of 2019, the counties were required to allow registered voters to vote by mail-in ballot “over the counter” at the county election office or satellite county election office as soon as ballots were available.”

More details about the Act 77 of 2019 can be found here .

Murren said a voter could visit their county election office in person and apply for a mail-in ballot.

Once the voter’s eligibility is verified, the voter can immediately receive a mail-in ballot, fill it out and return it in the office in one visit. This would allow the voter to complete every step of the process in one day.

“This would result in the ballot mailed date being the same as the ballot received date,” Murren said. “The allegation of ballots being received before they were mailed out are probably data-entry errors, but the counties where this allegedly happened can reconcile and confirm that.”

As the video does not mention specific counties, Reuters was not able to confirm any evidence of data errors regarding this.

VERDICT

False. This video does not reveal voter fraud. Voters were able to visit an election office, request a mail-in ballot, receive it, complete it and return it on the same day. This process explains the data set showing that some voters received and returned their ballots on the same day.

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

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