Report: 28 Million Mail Ballots Went Missing in Past Decade

More Than 2 Million Ballots Also Sent to Wrong Addresses

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – April 13, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a research brief detailing national figures for mail balloting failures, according to previous federal surveys.

Roughly 1 in 5 ballots never completed the mail voting process in the past decade.

Putting the election in the hands of the United States Postal Service would be a catastrophe. Over the recent decade, there were 28 million missing and misdirected ballots,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “These represent 28 million opportunities for someone to cheat. Absentee ballot fraud is the most common; the most expensive to investigate; and can never be reversed after an election. The status quo was already bad for mail balloting. The proposed emergency fix is worse.

PILF relied on U.S. Election Assistance Commission survey data to compile national figures regarding mail ballot errors. The federal surveys reflect the 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 General Elections.

The EAC defines “unknown” ballots as those that “were not returned by voter, spoiled, returned as undeliverable, or otherwise unable to be tracked by your office.”

Summary of Findings – 2012 thru 2018

Total Ballots Transmitted – 146,371,771

Number of Ballots Official Marked “Unknown” After Mailing – 28,359,530

Undeliverable Ballots – 2,147,987

Rejected Ballots upon Receipt – 1,275,924

Access the full research brief, here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.


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