Naked Ballots in Pennsylvania could Spoil Everything

Derek Cressman

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently struck down a directive of Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar that instructed local election officials to count ballots even when a voter forgot to insert them into an extra privacy sleeve before sealing it in an outer return envelope. Local clerks had been routinely counting these ballots in the past, so there are no reliable numbers for how many votes could be at risk from these so-called 'naked' ballots. But Philadelphia recorded 197 naked ballots in a 2019 election out of 3,086 absentee ballots, a rejection rate of 6.4%. More than half of Pennsylvania's vote this November could be from mail in ballots, so voters will need to take extra care to follow instructions for returning their ballot in order to ensure an accurate tally of votes.

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