When is a fact check not a fact check?
The story was big: Pennsylvania had sent 255,000 mail-in ballots to unverified voters. The basis for this claim was the fact that the statewide computer system showed that 255,000 mail-in ballots that had already been mailed had the designation “NV” or “not verified.” The AP countered this claim with a “fact check” claiming this assertion is False. Except that, when you read through the AP article, Republicans are correct: 255,000 mail-in and absentee ballots went to people who did not prove their identity at the time they applied for those ballots.
The Gateway Pundit had the story:
Pennsylvania Democrat officials sent out
240,000255,000 ballots to people they could not verify either by their Social Security or Driver’s License numbers.
The ballots should NEVER have been sent out to these voters.
Fifteen Republican State Representatives sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman after they discovered that over 240,000 illicit ballots were sent out in the state prior to the 2022 midterm elections.
According to Pennsylvania law, these ballots must now be set aside. They can’t be counted in the November 8th election until the voter produces an identification.
You can bet that very few of these counties will set these ballots aside. This is how Democrats cheat.
The AP rates the story as “false,” but then, through a wall of words, proceeds to validate the claim.
Image: Mounds of absentee ballots by Lance Fisher. CC BY-SA 2.0.
It all begins with a statement from “Pennsylvania Department of State spokeswoman Amy Gulli,” who states definitely that “There are not 240,000+ ‘unverified ballots,’ as certain lawmakers are claiming.” I know nothing about Ms. Gulli and have no reason to question her honesty. That said, on her LinkedIn page, the second most important thing she lists for “how I get results” is “create and sustain diverse, equitable and inclusive work environments,” and her Twitter feed reveals that she opposed Trump’s efforts to control our borders and seemingly believes in apocalyptic climate change.
The meat of the AP’s fact check is that those who apply for mail-in or absentee ballots must provide proof of identification. If they apply online and provide proof of ID as part of that application, they’re instantly labeled “verified.”
However, in other cases, the voter’s identifying information must go through further verification processes. When that happens, the application enters the statewide system under a designation labeled “NV,” or “not verified.”
Notably, the “not verified” designation doesn’t mean the voter didn’t provide accurate identification information, nor does it mean their ID wasn’t later verified.
In other words, “not verified” means exactly that: At the time the people applied for a ballot, they did not provide a reliable means of verifying their identity. Nevertheless, despite not being verified, the state must still send out that ballot:
If a voter’s identification can’t be verified at the time they apply for a ballot, state law does require that the voter still be issued a ballot and be provided an opportunity until the sixth day after the election to provide the proper proof of identification. But counties are not to count the ballot unless the voter provides proof of identification.
Regarding that last sentence, the law is very specific: “For those applicants whose proof of identification was not provided with the application or could not be verified by the board, the board shall send notice to the elector with the absentee ballot requiring the elector to provide proof of identification with the absentee ballot or the ballot will not be counted.” Pa. Stats. Title 25 (Elections & Electoral Districts) § 3146.2b(d).
In other words, despite the AP’s long song and dance, Gateway Pundit and the Republican state lawmakers were correct: The state mailed out 255,000 unverified ballots. In theory, those ballots must be returned with valid proof of identity to be counted, but with that great a number, who really believes that overwhelmed counties will keep track of this kind of thing?
The greatest likelihood is that ballots will come in and, whether they were verified or not, counties will treat them as valid. No wonder that Verity Vote, which first revealed the story, says the law as written is an invitation to fraud and must be changed:
Verity Vote argues all verification should occur before a ballot is issued.
“It seems reckless in the modern era, to send a ballot based on an unverified mail ballot application with the intention of verifying later,” the group said in a statement to the AP.
For the above reasons, I rate as false the AP’s contention that it’s untrue that Pennsylvania mailed 255,000 ballots to people who have not been vetted. While they may eventually be vetted, the sheer volume of unvetted absentee ballots is a problem that the legislature must address before 2024.
It’s always useful to be reminded that the modern media exists to conceal or, in this case, obfuscate anything that might be harmful to Democrat party interests.
(See also, Election fraud in Pennsylvania—and how to stop it.)