Nov 30, 2022 - News

Report reveals disparities in Philly's rejected mail-in ballots

Illustration of a hand casting a ballot into a calendar

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 2,600 Philadelphia mail-in ballots didn't count in this month's midterm election because they were undated or incorrectly dated.

  • The majority was cast by voters living in communities of color.

The big picture: Flawed ballots were more likely to come from neighborhoods with higher than average nonwhite populations in Philadelphia, as well as in Allegheny and Erie counties, according to an analysis by Voterbeat and Spotlight PA.

How it works: The news organizations examined lists of voters who submitted the flawed ballots in the three areas and compared them with the state's official list of registered voters.

  • Racial demographics weren't available for individuals, so the outlets used census data by ZIP code to identify communities with higher minority populations.

Context: The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that undated and incorrectly dated ballots wouldn't be counted in the Nov. 8 election.

  • A coalition of voting rights advocates, including state ACLU and NAACP groups, filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania in federal court prior to the election asking to have such ballots counted statewide.

What they're saying: Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley told Axios she disagreed with the high court decision but was bound by it.

  • "Those voices should be heard. The city commissioners will be actively trying to assist any and all efforts to get these ballots counted. I am hopeful that we will prevail," she said.

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