Pennsylvania lawmakers are demanding answers after the state mailed out almost a quarter of a million ballots to voters without a verified ID. 

“That is an enormous number of ballots, which, according to the law, must be set aside and not counted for the 2022 General Election unless the voter produces ID,” argues State Rep. Frank Ryan in a letter sent to acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman.

Pennsylvania is a key battleground state and the results of its November 8th election will determine not only the state’s Governor but also positions within the US House and Senate.

The fact that ballots were sent out without applicants’ information being verified will force jurisdictions to go after that information themselves, argues Ryan.

“What level of additional staffing is allocated for counties to attempt to contact and verify the identity of these quarter of a million ballot recipients?” asks Ryan. “Many of these unverified ballots are likely the result of transposition of numbers or letters, but the purpose of the law is to ensure integrity. The law requires matching therefore all must be set aside and ID verified prior to being counted.”

The problem is likely related to a 2018 directive from the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office that instructed Pennsylvania counties to register voters without first verifying their ID.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office is historically uncooperative, notes Ryan, and an audit conducted in 2019 confirmed the office lacked a reliable system for keeping track of election records. 

During a hearing held in September, Deputy Secretary for Elections and Commissions Jonathan Marks told Ryan that counties are required to send mail-in ballots to all requesters even if they submit invalid identification. Less than two weeks after his testimony, however, the Pennsylvania Department of State issued guidance informing jurisdictions that they must verify an applicant’s ID before sending the ballot.

“Either the ballots are mailed to unverified applicants or ballots are not mailed to unverified applicants, but both statements cannot be true,” argues Ryan.

The rules for voting are different than the rules for voter registration, explained Marks during the hearing. There is no state or federal requirement that a person’s Social Security number or Transportation Department ID number matches. “With mail-in balloting, it is a requirement,” he added. “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 does’t count unless the voter provides a valid form of ID.” 

The problem, explains Ryan, is that county election officials “can and do count the ballots” even in situations where a ballot is mailed to an unverified voter and that person fails to provide the necessary documentation. “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).”

In other words, it’s very possible that the quarter of a million ballots that shouldn’t be accepted will be. 

With support from 14 other GOP lawmakers, Ryan is asking Chapman to require all Pennsylvania counties to certify that all ballots sent to requesters without valid identification be set aside and that the invalid information provided be recorded. 

“[It’s] really frustrating that nobody’s doing anything about this,” complains election integrity organization Verity Vote, which initially exposed the ballot issue in Pennsylvania.

It’s like the 2020 presidential election all over again, laments Phil Kline, director of the election integrity nonprofit Amistad Project. “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.”