Pennsylvania: How Democrats Can Steal an Election

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that in March, a former Philadelphia election official admitted to, and was convicted of, accepting bribes to stuff ballots for three Democrat candidates for Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge.  He admitted to inflating the votes in primaries in years 2014 through 2016.  He purportedly committed the fraud by standing in a voting booth and voting multiple times.  That he acted alone seems unlikely.  In Pennsylvania, each polling place must have a minimum of five poll workers to open and operate. They all work for thirteen hours – where were they?  This trick could explain why some Philadelphia precincts end up, unabashedly, on election nights with more total votes than registered voters, and an outcome producing 100% of the votes for Democrat candidates. This case is not an isolated incident, as other cases of altering vote counts have been successfully prosecuted.

In Pennsylvania, more insidious than the overt fraud just exposed by the Justice Department, are the myriad subtler ways in which perhaps more systematized election fraud occurs.  Out-of-date voter rolls often list multiple names at the same address. Deceased voters may not be immediately purged.  Once an individual has voted in Pennsylvania, a poll worker is not permitted to ask for identification.  If that individual keeps voting, their name remains on the rolls without question. That’s how dead people vote. That’s how multiple residents at the same address vote.  Moreover, if a live voter has recently moved, it is possible they can vote in two different polling places.  In the past few years, Pennsylvanians have been successfully  prosecuted for: fraudulent use of absentee ballots, either through forgery, or filing without the real voter’s knowledge; duplicate voting; ineligible voting due to lack of citizenship; and, multiple registrations both inside and out of state. These abuses frequently occur in other states as well.

In 2019, Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law that all registered voters could apply for an absentee ballot without having to provide a reason.  Previously, one could only vote absentee by stating on the application that one would be out of state on election day or was physically prevented from voting in person.  As previously reported, Wolf enacted one of the more stringent COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates in the country – closing the entire state to all but essential workers.  Pennsylvania’s primary was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing stay at home mandates.  Large parts of Pennsylvania cannot reopen until two days after the new primary date of June 2, 2020, and most polling places have been relocated.  Predictably, chaos reigns; the likelihood of fraud has spiked.  Moreover,  Wolf and election board officials are encouraging voters to vote by write-in ballot.  Stay home, they exhort.  President Trump has a different message and has correctly pointed out the propensity for fraud and election theft when distance voting is the norm.

The draconian stay-at-home measures and warnings have scared most poll workers and voters alike.  As noted above, without a minimum of five poll workers, a poll cannot open.  With poll workers’ mass refusals to work, 60% of all existing state poll locations have been closed.  The remaining polls have been bunched and moved to public schools – many counties have yet to announce the new locations

Prior to Wolf’s cockamamie change, the procedures for absentee ballot control were tighter, but problems existed.  To apply for an absentee ballot, a registered voter had to apply, complete the application with the reason for the request, and mail back to the county Board of Elections, all within a certain time frame prior to the election date.  When the ballot was received, it was accompanied with two envelopes:  the smaller, unmarked envelope was used to seal the completed ballot, and the larger was to insert the sealed ballot and mail back to the Board of Elections – again within a certain time frame before the election.  The weekend before the election, the Judge of Elections for each polling place, would pick up all materials assigned to their poll.  Included were the absentee ballots, the books containing the names of registered voters, and a list of all voters who had submitted absentee ballots.  The list was posted on a wall and the ballots counted to ensure the numbers matched.  They were then separated, and unopened until the polls closed, and the tallies were taken.

When voters first enter the polling place and it is their turn to vote, they sign their name in the spot where they are listed in the registration book.  If they have submitted an absentee ballot, it will be marked in the book.  The clerk informs the Judge of Elections, and before the voter can vote, their absentee ballot is publicly pulled from the absentee ballot bag, nullified, and their name is crossed off the list.  After the polls close, at least two pre-certified poll watchers enter the polling place (one from each party), watch the votes being counted and check the results.  Only then are the absentee ballots taken out, the outer envelopes destroyed, the ballots shuffled, and counted.  Cumbersome and time consuming, yes.  It was far from perfect and problems abounded.  Even with these controls in place, there were accusations of lost ballots, applications and ballots arriving too late to be returned by the deadline – especially among the military, and stashes of absentee ballots discovered after the election and too late to be counted. While the pandemic was not a factor when Wolf changed the write-in ballot rules, it is now.  And the likelihood for fraud has grown exponentially.

With Democrats in a vast majority, Philadelphia as of one week ago had received 158,000 write-in ballots compared with a presidential election record of 23,000.  Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, had received more than 225,000 ballots when in a normal primary they receive 10,000. In Montgomery County, a densely populated suburb of Philadelphia, the Board of Elections is also controlled by Democrats. Issues are mounting. Pre-COVID-19 restrictions and warnings, numbers such as these were never anticipated or planned for adequately.   Requested write-in applications and ballots have been slow in arriving.  As many as 2,000 ballots have arrived in error – such as to party affiliation, wrong county list of candidates and/or with incorrect instructions.

Another fraud-including factor is that the city/county of Philadelphia, and its surrounding suburbs of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery are all sanctuary counties. Investigations by the watchdog group Public Interest Legal Foundation have forced election board officials to admit that illegal residents have registered in high numbers.  Estimates place the total of over 100,000.

Additionally, alarm bells should be ringing in every Republican’s heart from an article published in Politico, May 24, 2020, by Holly Otterbein:

Key swing state warns of November election ‘nightmare’. 

 ‘Pennsylvania could determine the presidency.  But it might not be clear for days who won the state on Nov. 3. 

Election officials throughout the critical battleground, which is implementing no-excuse mail-in voting for the first time ever amid pandemic, say they are unlikely to finish counting those ballots the night of the general election.

If the race is close enough – as it was in 2016, when Donald Trump carried the state by only 44,000  votes – that could mean the status of one of the nation’s biggest swing states could remain up in the air long past Election Day.

“My nightmare is that on Election Day in November, you’re waiting for Montgomery County results to declare Pennsylvania to declare who wins the White House,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence, a Democrat who chairs the Board of Elections there.  “The reality is that all of our counties are going to be in that same situation, and it will take a while to actually count the ballots.”

Less than two weeks away from Pennsylvania’s primary, some state election officials said they lack the funding and staff needed to handle the massive influx of mail-in ballots they’ve received for that race.

They also said the fact that they legally can’t start counting those ballots until the morning of Election Day is complicating matters…’

Rewind: ‘ … they legally can’t start counting those ballots until the morning of Election Day…’?!

If the officials start counting on the morning of election day, how is a cross check enacted to ensure that double in-person voting is thwarted?  If not stopped, the Democrats seem to be setting the stage for How to steal an election, in November.


Lynne Lechter is a “non-essential” litigator in Philadelphia, currently working remotely, and an elected member of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee.

Image credit: Niagara, via Wikimedia Commons

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