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More Ballots Cast in PA Presidential Election Than Total Voters: Lawmakers

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: December 30, 2020
The state capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Image: F McGady/CC-BY 4.0)lawmakers
The state capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Image: F McGady / CC-BY 4.0)

Pennsylvania lawmakers say they have found a major discrepancy between the number of votes counted and the number of voters who voted in the Nov. 3 presidential election. 

The statement was issued by State Rep. Frank Ryan (R), Rep. Russ Diamond (R) and 15 other Pennsylvania GOP Representatives. 

“A group of state lawmakers performing extensive analysis of election data today revealed huge discrepancies between the numbers of total votes counted and total number of voters who voted in the 2020 General Election, and as a result are questioning how the results of the presidential election could possibly have been certified by Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar and Governor Tom Wolf.”

“These findings are in addition to prior concerns regarding actions by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Secretary, and others impacting the conduct of the election,” read the Statement.

According to their analysis, 6,962,607 total ballots were cast with 31,547 less being counted in the race, yet the number of voters who voted in the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) database is only 6,760,230. Discrepancies for three small rural counties were not included, as the counties had not yet posted results online and thus were counted only as reported, with no analysis. As indicated in the study, the actual numeric discrepancy may differ slightly due to this missing information.

Thus far, the count appears to show 170,830 more ballots were counted than there were voters in the Pennsylvania general election.  

Data from the statement issued by 17 Pennsylvania GOP representatives. (Image: Screenshot)

According to AP, presidential candidate Joseph Biden defeated President Donald Trump by a slim margin in the key battleground state: 81,660 votes.

Secretary Boockvar and Governor Wolf issued a Certificate of Ascertainment of Presidential Electors declaring Biden won by a margin of 80,555 votes. 

The lawmakers presented a summary of the situation together with their numbers, stating: “We were already concerned with the actions of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Executive branch, and election officials in certain counties contravening and undermining the Pennsylvania Election Code by eliminating signature verification, postmarks, and due dates while allowing the proliferation of drop boxes with questionable security measures and the unauthorized curing of ballots, as well as the questionable treatment of poll watchers, all of which created wholesale opportunities for irregularities in the 2020 presidential election. 

“These numbers just don’t add up, and the alleged certification of Pennsylvania’s presidential election results was absolutely premature, unconfirmed, and in error.”

However, Pennsylvania newspaper The Sentinel says it was able to refute the lawmakers’ analysis.

The paper was able to replicate Rep. Ryan and Rep. Diamond’s results using Pennsylvania’s “Voter Export File.” According to Pennsylvania’s Department of State, the file is regularly updated by county elections bureaus and is primarily used by campaigns seeking voters to target. 

According to Sentinel author Zack Hoopes, the file is available for $20 and notes its next refresh date as Jan. 4, 2021. For a time, the link he provides in his Twitter post and the Google search result redirected to an election security information page on the PA Department of State website. It appears to have become functional again. Ordering the data requires proof of Pennsylvania residency, such as a driver’s license, photo ID card, or other form of identification. 

“That file lists each voter with dozens of possible information fields for counties to fill in. One of those fields is the voter’s last vote date. Diamond’s calculations are the result of counting every voter in a given precinct whose ‘last vote date’ column is filled in with the date of Nov. 3, 2020,” said The Sentinel.

The Department of State claims vote reconciliations are off because many voters have the “last vote date” column left blank as many counties have not yet uploaded to the Export File their data from an election that occurred almost two months ago. According to The Sentinel, Department of State spokesperson Wanda Murren, whose title is Director of Office of Communications and Press, has claimed that the certified results issued by Wolf and Broockvar are based on an audit of the paper ballots themselves. 

In a Twitter exchange between Hoopes and Rep. Diamond, Diamond points out that although his own county, Lebanon County, has completed their Voter Export File, it still shows irregularities between the number of votes counted and the number of voters. 

“It is continuously updated. People move, die, etc. So in my county, where the county has said they’re ‘done,’ there is still a 500 vote discrepancy. No matter how you slice it, certifying the presidential race was not possible on 11/24,” said Diamond. 

Rep. Diamond posted his findings of Lebanon County on his Twitter account, stating: “Lest anyone think I’m targeting ‘big cities’ regarding voter deficits, here is the same data from MY OWN DISTRICT, broken down by precinct. IMHO, this warrants a forensic audit of physical ballots, envelopes, and pollbooks in the 32N precinct.”

The GOP lawmakers, in their report, had also taken care to indicate that the results of three small rural counties had not been compiled due to their data not having been updated in the Pennsylvania Department of State’s SURE database as of the publication of the lawmakers’ analysis. To be cautious with their findings, the lawmakers had entered the data for those three more sparsely populated counties as perfectly reconciled, so the true discrepancy between votes cast and voters who voted may be even greater.

The totals without the updated data, as can be seen in the above chart, were 202,377 votes cast that could not be accounted for when measured against the number of voters who were recorded to have voted. Subtracting the 31,547 votes that were not counted, the total discrepancy of votes, counted over voters recorded according to published online data, was 170,830. 

In what is believed to be a response to Diamond’s study, in which 202,377 total votes were cast above and beyond the total of voters recorded, President Trump tweeted a quote from a third party on Dec. 28: “‘Breaking News: In Pennsylvania there were 205,000 more votes than there were voters. This alone flips the state to President Trump.’”

The president had previously tweeted on Nov. 3 that the Supreme Court’s decision to allow absentee ballots up to three days after election day would leave the Pennsylvania general election vulnerable to fraud.

Reconciling the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and governor’s certification of the election total with the paper ballots, which was the method of ascertainment used according to Pennsylvania State Department’s Wanda Murren, casts attention on the method used to prove the legitimacy of the vote totals. Meanwhile, the lawmakers’ study of a once-publicly available PA Department of State data set suggests alternate avenues of gaining insight into the process behind the Pennsylvania votes. 

On Nov. 3, Twitter had censored Trump for airing his concerns, claiming he had no evidence; Twitter’s actions slowed the spread of the President’s warning to the extent that the social media outlet’s move was used as a “case study” by The New York Times on Twitter’s censorship. In the article, which was posted mid-afternoon on Election Day, The New York Times deemed the president’s comment as one among countless “misleading tweets.”  

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