11.09.2020 0

Were there enough illegal votes in Pennsylvania to flip the state to President Trump?

By Robert Romano

Ballots in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania continue to be counted, and former Vice President Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by about 45,000 votes: 3,364,965 to 3,319,652.

To date, it is still unknown how many ballots were received after Pennsylvania’s statutory deadline of 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court arbitrarily extended that deadline to Nov. 6 at 5 p.m., in violation of state law, and then the U.S. Supreme Court kicked the can down the road, waiting until after the election to see if it would matter towards the outcome.

Under Pennsylvania law, it states, “No absentee ballot under this subsection shall be counted which is received in the office of the county board of elections later than eight o’clock P.M. on the day of the primary or election.”

Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states, “The times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof…”

On Nov. 6, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered in Pennsylvania that “all ballots received by mail after 8:00 p.m. on November 3 be segregated and kept ‘in a secure, safe and sealed container separate from other voted ballots,’ and … that all such ballots, if counted, be counted separately.”

Presumably that is so they can potentially be discounted later. Mind you, how courts rule on this issue will not only potentially impact the outcome of the presidential race but also down ballot Congressional races. The House, particularly, could be closely divided, and a decision here could potentially tip the balance of power to Republicans.

So far, Pennsylvania Secretary of State of Pennsylvania Kathy Boockvar has assured the Supreme Court that “63 [out of 67] counties have already confirmed to the Secretary their compliance with the prior guidance, including the Commonwealth’s two largest counties (Allegheny and Philadelphia). And no county has expressed an intention to violate the guidance.”

Hopefully, the counties have kept the envelopes, and can also show when they were received.

Interestingly, Luzerne County submitted a response, providing a tally of late ballots, noting a “total of 149,103 votes, [and] only 255 mail-in and absentee ballots were received between 8:00 P.M. on Election Day and 5:00 P.M.”

As expected, the county is claiming just a tiny fraction, about 0.17 percent, were received after 8 p.m. on Election Day. The percentage of illegal late votes could be different in different counties depending on how big of an operation there was for harvesting ballots.

Now, maybe that is the number and I sure hope they kept the envelopes to prove it. Let’s just say that that is representative of the entire state, where 6,771,775 people voted and counting as of this writing.

That represents 11,512 late ballots statewide, but keep in mind that Luzerne is a +15 percent Trump county that went 57-42 for the President, and so since there were fewer Democrats, there’d be fewer ballots as a percentage of total cast, given Democrats’ preference for voting by mail. Biden got 49 percent statewide, so you have to adjust and it comes out to about 0.199 percent.

Assuming Luzerne County is telling the truth, that works out to about 13,500 or so ineligible votes in a race decided by 45,000 votes, it’s about 30 percent of the victory margin, and if discounted, more than enough to initiate an automatic recount at the 34,000 threshold, assuming they were ever a part of the initial count.


 

And that’s just the illegal late ballots.

That is not even considering other potential ineligible ballots that are in play, including absentee ballots that did not have a matching signature, had the wrong address, or were allegedly cured by poll workers without the voter present.

Taken together, that could all throw the entire counting process into doubt, as there may not be an easy way to find the late ballots.

Further complicating matters, in Philadelphia (and other cities) it is alleged by the Trump campaign that it did not get to examine or challenge a single absentee ballot, potentially making it impossible to pull back any absentees once they are tallied. Moreover, now that the ballots have been separated from the envelopes, there may be no way to tell which ones were late or otherwise illegally submitted.

Assuming it is impossible to now distinguish between illegal ballots and legitimate ones, the remedies should in the very least include an election audit that provides campaigns to examine and challenge the eligibility and arrival times, and take a look at U.S. Postal Service tracking on every single one of the 1.17 million absentee ballots their envelopes.

Those envelopes better not have been destroyed.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Update: A prior version of this article mentioned an Erie County, U.S. Postal Service employee Richard Hopkins who alleged in a sworn affidavit that ballots were illegally backdated by postal employees, anticipating legal challenges. Hopkins has since reportedly recanted his story in another affidavit, according to the Washington Post, but has since stated he did not recant his original story, and is now calling on the Post to retract its article.

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