Either Pennsylvania is the epicenter of the mythological Fountain of Youth, or something very strange is going on in the Keystone State. Careful inspection of the Pennsylvania 2020 General Election Mail Ballot Requests shows that more than 10,000 ballots were requested and returned by individuals age 95 and over. Liberty Nation tried to reconcile this oddity, but at publishing time, we still could not determine why so many people that old had requested to vote in the 2020 election. Is this an example of largescale voter fraud, widespread county election board incompetence, or something more sinister at play? Here are the facts.
Birth Date Please
The data set on data.pa.gov for ballot applications approved and returned for this election cycle lists 3,098,705 individuals. Three million-plus people and, according to the information listed, 10,126 of them were born before 1925. For some perspective, it is worth noting that in the United States today, the oldest living person is 116 years old. The data set lists over 100 people who claim to be older than 116, but that is merely anecdotal to some alarming additional numbers.
More than 1,500 voters who claimed to be more than 100 years old on election day requested ballots – 1,555, to be exact. In total, 10,126 Pennsylvanians over the age of 95 requested ballots – and many of them did so online. Just 303 ballots from those 1,555 who claimed to be 100 years old on election day were not returned. How can this be, and what are the possible explanations for this bizarre data set?
- There is something in the Pennsylvania water that promotes longevity, digital skills, and widespread political interest among incredibly old people.
- The data entry personnel in Pennsylvania are dangerously unskilled.
- Voter fraud is taking place.
In the interest of full disclosure, Pennsylvania’s .gov webpage displays an explanation: “The reason some birth dates will display as 1/1/1800 is due to confidentiality reasons of the registered voters. Usually, this is for victims of domestic violence.”
Pennsylvania election officials added this comment during the early afternoon of Nov.6. How do we know? Liberty Nation had earlier recorded a video of the website, shown below. This explanation of birthdates was absent.
In fairness to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth government officials, some of these ballots do indeed show the voters’ date of birth as 01/01/1800. However, that is the case for only 59 out of the 10,126 entries. As it is common in data entry to use a repeated birthdate as a symbol, our research also noted the use of 01/01/1900 listed birthdates. However, subtracting the entries with a birth year listed as 1900 only removes 18 records, leaving 10,049 that are not standardized data entries.
The process of applying for a ballot in Pennsylvania requires the submission of a form; this requires numerous fields to be completed, including right at the top: “Birth Date.”
So, what went wrong?
It is highly unlikely that 10,000 centenarians or near-centenarians suddenly decided to get with the internet age and start dealing with their political preferences online. Perhaps even more unlikely is that so many Pennsylvanians have attained such a ripeness of age. Liberty Nation reached out to numerous counties to clear up this curious case but only managed to get a reply from Brenda Munz, Director of Elections in Cameron County, Pa. – the smallest county by population, with a majority Republican county commission. She says the state implemented a new computer system in 2005 or 2006 called the “SURE” system and when they did, they often entered dates like 1/1/1900 for instance, for dates that were illegible on old paper rolls.
So, is it a question of incompetence by those dealing with the ballots? Are the counters incapable of either entering a date correctly or recognizing that Mr/Mrs. X from Monroe County was born in August 1854 and is presently 166 years old yet still applying for an online mail ballot in July 2020?
It is perhaps understandable to have one or two errors when checking a mass of data that includes over 3M people. Still, at least 10,000 seems beyond the realm of statistical probability. It also should be noted that as the authors of this article were online researching this data, we received this message multiple times during the afternoon hours:
Pennsylvania happened to change its mail-in ballot laws prior to the pandemic outbreak. In October of 2019, the state enacted widespread changes for PA voters, including the option of mail-in ballots with no excuse needed, along with later deadlines for voter registration and for returning mail-in and absentee ballots. But the state did not authorize proxy voting for the deceased in the recent changes.
There may be a reasonable explanation for this most bizarre data set listed by Keystone State election authorities. If so, we would love to hear it.