Almost 250 Thousand Ballots Sent to Pennsylvania Voters With Unverified IDs

Almost 250,000 ballots were mailed to voters in Pennsylvania voters without their identities being verified, state data show. 

Citing information from Verity Vote, an election integrity organization, 15 state House representatives sent a letter to Leigh Chapman, acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The legislators, citing testimony from Jonathan Marks, Deputy Secretary for Elections and Commissions, pointed out that ballots are being “mailed to unverified applicants.”

“But less than two weeks” following Marks’ testimony, legislators continued, “the Department of State sent out guidance informing the counties that the verification is done prior to the mailing of ballots.”

“Either the ballots are mailed to unverified applicants or ballots are not mailed to unverified applicants, but both statements cannot be true,” wrote the state representatives. “Due to this conflicting information, conscientious election workers could unknowingly accept and count ballots for which no verification has ever occurred.”

State Representative Francis Ryan asked Marks regarding “the large number of requests submitted to the Social Security Administration Help America Vote Verification (HAVV) system.” 

The Deputy Secretary for Elections and Commissions responded by saying mail-in ballot applications were being verified using the HAVV systems to verify Social Security numbers.

Marks added, however, that if someone’s Social Security number cannot be verified for a mail-in ballot application or if someone submits an invalid Pennsylvania ID, counties are still required to send the ballot to the voter without verifying their identity. “The ballot doesn’t count unless the voter provides a valid form of ID,” added Marks.

“I want to make sure we’re clear about the distinction between the two processes: Voter registration, there is no federal requirement or state requirement that those numbers match or that every voter has to have one of those two numbers,” stated Marks.

He continued, “With mail-in balloting, it is a requirement. If when you apply, your PennDOT ID cannot be verified or your last four of SSN cannot be verified, the county can still issue the ballot, but the ballot doesn’t count unless the voter provides a valid form of ID — either a PennDOT ID or the last four of SSN that can be verified or one of the other forms of identification provided for in the statute.”

“County election officials have access to the results of PennDOT matching verification and the SSN4 HAVV matching verification, but they have no substantive role in that matching process. County election officials report that, for some applicants, a letter may be generated and mailed to the voter, notifying them that the ID they provided did not match the SSA records. The letter instructs those voters to produce a valid form of identification to the county board of elections. However, if proof of ID is not received, the county election officials report that they can and do count the ballots without the ID from the voter. In addition, several counties report that they can and do ‘fix’ the invalid ID in the system and accept the ballot (with no action taken by the voter),” the legislators continued. 

Election integrity organization being attacked for reporting miscounted votes

Verity Vote said despite the possibility of around a quarter million votes being miscounted, their organization is being attacked for the report. “Election directors are trying to do the right thing and fix it for people for their ballot to be counted,” said Verity Vote. 

However, the group noted that it is “really frustrating that nobody’s doing anything about this,” and the Department of State of Pennsylvania “doesn’t feel like they have to respond to these [legislative] members.”

According to the director of the election integrity nonprofit Amistad Project, Phill Kline, the problems noted in the 2020 presidential election will be repeated during the 2022 midterms. 

“The left has refused to abide by commonsense procedures, laws, and rules that make it easy for legitimate voters to vote and difficult for fraudulent voters and people to commit fraud,” said Kline.