In 2016, the state rejected about 1% of mail-in ballots; this year it is running so far as 0.03%.
Mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania so far this year have been accepted at almost 30 times the rate predicted by historical rejection numbers, raising potential questions in a state in which Democratic challenger Joe Biden is maintaining a lead of just several thousand votes.
A county-by-county review by Just the News of accepted and rejected mail-in ballots throughout the state of Pennsylvania show that, when added up, the state only rejected 951 of 2,614,011 mail-in ballots this year, or a rate of 0.03%.
That is significantly less than the historical rate of mail-in ballot rejection, which generally hovers around 1%. For first-time mail-in voters the rate can jump as high as 3%.
The rate of rejected Mail-In Ballots is 30 X’s lower in Pennsylvania this year than it was in 2016. This is why they kept our poll watchers and observers out of the “SACRED” vote counting rooms!https://t.co/QPlzfimbd4
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2020
In 2016, the state saw about 266,208 mail-in ballots; just under 1% of them, 2,534, were rejected, roughly in line with historical expectations, according to the 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey.
At that historical rate of rejection, around 26,000 mail-in ballots would be rejected from this year’s final Pennsylvania tally. Such numbers would not have been unexpected: Last month, for instance, the Bucks County Courier Times estimated that, based on predicted vote-by-mail turnout, around 28,000 Pennsylvanians might have had their ballots pulled, rather than the 951 that were ultimately dumped.
The Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment via email and phone on Friday afternoon regarding the abnormally low rejection rate.
Mail-in ballots rejected for a variety of reasons
Voting by mail, unsurprisingly, has a significantly higher rejection rate than voting in person. Voters who use mail-in ballots often make errors such as miswritten forms, non-matching signatures and improper vote tabulation.
That number goes up for first-time mail-in voters, with rejected rates among that group sometimes reaching rates as high as 3%. Millions of Americans voted by mail for the first time during the 2020 election, largely out of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Pennsylvania on Friday afternoon, the race between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump was razor-thin, with nearly all the ballots counted and Biden leading by around 13,000 votes, according to Just The News.