Legalizing Ballot Fraud in Pennsylvania

On November 22, 2023 it was reported that a federal court in Pennsylvania changed the legal requirements for counting mail-in ballots by county boards of elections. When no-excuse mail-in balloting was permitted in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, we were told that such voting was secure and that safeguards would prohibit fraud. Doubters and skeptics are forcefully reminded that the 2020 election was the “most secure in history.” Last week’s court decision is one more example of the alleged safeguards being eroded.

One year earlier the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that all mail-in ballots must be dated and must be rejected by county boards of election if the date is invalid. This week’s ruling would change that requirement so that undated and misdated mail-in ballots must be counted. Groups pushing for that change claim that the date on the ballot envelope is trivial. Those claims are amplified by a compliant media that obscures the issue.

Few issues are more important than election integrity. That this proposition needs to be repeated is in itself revealing. We all have witnessed crucial contests somehow change winners in the early morning hours following election day. It has become a cliché and a joke. The election law changes that have allowed this to happen have sown widespread suspicion and disillusionment throughout the country.

Fraudulent mail-in ballots are difficult to detect. They are not obvious. Only through safeguards like the date on the envelope can we hope to catch and prevent a small portion of the fraud. Throughout Pennsylvania and beyond, voter registration offices send mail-in ballots to voters who request them beginning more than one month in advance of election day. The voters return those ballots inside one envelope that is contained in an outer envelope. The outer envelope contains a space for a signature and a date. As long as the date falls between the first date that the registration office mails ballots and election day, the ballot is considered valid. In one typical Pennsylvania county, absentee ballots were mailed starting October 4, 2023. Election day was November 7th. The voters had a range of 35 permissible dates with which to date their envelopes. Using one of those dates is not difficult. Ballots dated after election day or before the date of first mailing were not counted.

As a Board of Elections member in one Pennsylvania county, I participated in rejecting ballots with envelopes actually dated after the date on which we received them or before the date on which the ballots were sent to the voters. We saw numerous ballots that were somehow dated before they could legally have existed. We saw others that were dated more than a month in the future. The court ruling would force boards of election to count ballots dated in the future or somehow dated before the registration office even mailed the ballots in the first place. Leftist groups claim that failure to count such ballots would disenfranchise minorities and others. Such claims should be insulting to those voters. The law cannot assume that minorities do not know what day it is.

Leftists have long pushed similar claims to prevent the use of voter ID, as if minorities cannot obtain driver’s licenses. The requirement to sign and date a ballot envelope correctly is simpler even than the driver’s license that leftists do not think their constituents can obtain.

Forcing ballot box stuffers to date their envelopes does provide at least one minimal safeguard. The wrongdoers endeavor to stuff the ballot box by voting absentee in the name of registered voters. If they must date their ballot, they take the chance that the voter whose name they appropriate dies or moves out of the district before that date. The act of cheating becomes that much more of a guessing game. Removing the date requirement makes cheating just a little bit easier.

There are other mail-in ballot safeguards that are undoubtedly in the cross-hairs of the leftist activists at this point. Boards of election reject ballots when multiple ballots arrive in the same envelope. Each applicant can vote only once. We cannot choose among multiple ballots which one to count. Boards of election reject ballots without a signature on the envelope. There must be a signature to match the signature on file in the registration office. Boards of election reject “naked ballots” -- ballots arriving only in the outer envelope without the inner envelope included. Such naked ballots deprive the voter of essential privacy. Each one of these issues could be defined as trivial and/or discriminatory by a litigant or politically motivated court.

Leftist litigants will continue to walk a tightrope by claiming that the simplest requirements discriminate against minorities. Such claims have somehow not backfired as an insult to the groups they purport to represent. Leftist groups have dodged this bullet only because the media has imposed a fog over the entire election integrity issue. Every attempt to secure our elections is interpreted as some type of discrimination with no actual explanation of what those safeguards actually entail. The media would have us believe that we must accept ballots that were somehow dated before they even existed -- otherwise we are somehow colluding with Donald Trump to commit insurrection.

Despite the court’s ruling last week, neither the Civil Rights Act of 1964 nor any other statute prohibits any of the safeguards listed above.

The introduction of no-excuse absentee ballots has resulted in a new layer of bureaucracy. New forms have been created. Instructions for the voters have been drafted to accommodate the new forms. Thousands of mail-in ballots must be examined every election day in each county. Minimal safeguards are in place that do not begin to secure our elections. But those safeguards are too much for the leftists.

Life is not like the movies or even the history books. Democracy does not become dictatorship in one step. We will not see an announcement on television that we are now a dictatorship. The transition is gradual and far from obvious. Elections are not abolished all at once. Legitimate votes must be watered down and safeguards must be eliminated. Voting will never be officially abolished. It will simply become meaningless. Americans will continue to vote decades or generations after the government has so watered down those votes with measures that make rigged elections inevitable and natural. Requiring dates on the outer envelope containing ballots is one very small step in preventing that nightmare scenario.

Image: Joe Hall

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