CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – More than 700,000 Pennsylvania voters have returned their mail ballots ahead of the state’s municipal general election.
Of the more than one million ballots sent out, nearly three-quarters of them were requested by voters registered as Democrats. Many Republican voters don’t trust mail ballots.
“Even without any evidence of widespread fraud, there are still misconceptions and at times just outright conspiracy theories about what’s happening across all 67 counties,” said Ari Mittleman of KeepingOurRepublic.org, a bipartisan group focused on countering misinformation.
“There isn’t some sort of master scheme that Democrats are put at an advantage by mail in voting.”
Sarah Niebler, who teaches at Dickinson College, recently researched mail-in ballots from the spring primary, specifically, rejection rates by political party.
“There’s no partisan difference either at the individual level or at the county level,” she said.
Niebler’s research found that during the 2023 spring primary, 1.94% of mail-in ballots requested by Democrats were rejected for either having a wrong date, arriving late, or having another issue.
The same election showed 2.01% of ballots requested by Republicans, or 0.07% more, were rejected.
Nearly half of rejected ballots arrived late; each ballot must be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Another 30% were thrown out because they had a wrong date or no date.
Adam Mast, a Dickinson College junior, contacted and gathered information from all 67 counties for the study. He learned what many in Pennsylvania preach: there’s really no such thing as a statewide election.
“It’s really 67 kind of smaller elections… that are handled by different people who work differently, who have different systems.”
Mast added that a lot of county websites are archaic and outdated, especially those from smaller counties.
The researchers say while each county is different, mail-in ballots are here to stay.
“It is a secure and convenient way to do what we should all as Americans celebrate and to many people around the world can’t do, which is cast a vote,” said Mittleman.