An election judge in Washington County, Pennsylvania has come forward with a troubling story of dozens of missing ballots in the precinct she served as a judge on election day. Julianna Helby told her story of the missing ballots to Paul Kengor of the American Spectator who included her report in his article on the Pennsylvania presidential election, Why Pennsylvania Doesn’t Add Up – Mail-in ballots take on a life of their own, published Friday.
The Washington County elections website reports President Trump won the county with 71,375 votes to 44,712 for Joe Biden with all 180 precincts reporting.
Washington County is located just southwest of Allegheny County/Pittsburgh, on the border with Ohio.
Kengor says Helby reported the missing ballots to authorities. Helby says she believes the ballots were not taken at the precinct but rather the packages the ballots arrived from county election headquarters already shorted about twenty ballots each.
I was contacted by Julianna Heiby, the judge of elections for a precinct in Washington County near the Allegheny County border. She reached out to me because she witnessed activity that she believes might constitute “fraudulent actions.” She has reported this information to the authorities.
“The county provided us with blank ballots for use in the voting machines,” Julianna told me. “After voting, the ballots are counted in the ballot box. The number of voters who signed our poll books matched the number of ballots cast: 1254 for our precinct.” As judge of elections, “one of my tasks at the end of the night is to account for all the ballots. We are told how many ballots are packaged in our equipment. We were, supposedly, given 2250 ballots, packaged into three bundles of 750 each. One bundle was used completely. One bundle was still sealed at the end of the night. Of the partially used package, 205 remained.” Her math: “We cast 1254 ballots on Tuesday. 1500 – 1254 = 246.”
There should have been 246, but in fact there were only 205. That means that 41 ballots were missing.
As Julianna put it, “41 unaccounted-for ballots may not seem like a big issue, but if 41 ballots are missing from many precincts, we now have a discrepancy worthy of attention.”
Julianna told me that she believes in retrospect that these 41 didn’t disappear at the precinct but, in fact, never arrived to begin with: “My guess is that the package of ballots arrived at our precinct incomplete. We got them from the Washington County Board of Elections, which delivers them to the precincts throughout the county. So, they would not have been missing or potentially taken while at my precinct but prior to arriving.” Says Julianna: “I don’t know for sure, and I can’t say for certain if they were stolen, but I do know that there were at least 41 missing.”
According to Julianna, “From what I can tell they are the same type of paper ballots and scanners that are used in Philadelphia.” She sent a link to the vendor site for the equipment that her precinct and county use (click here). “The ballots that were missing are this type,” says Julianna. “One thing to investigate would be which counties also used this system.” Julianna likewise included a link to the equipment used by counties throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (click here).
Julianna believes the number of 41 missing ballots for her precinct actually might be closer to 60, given that there were roughly 20 missing per box, and the third box she never opened (it likewise might have been missing 20)…
(Kengor’s article is about the numerous statistical improbabilities in the Pennsylvania election and is worth the time to read in full.)
Friday afternoon Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced she will not order a recount and recanvas of the election as Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump exceeds the 0.5 percent threshold. Complete statement:
Harrisburg, Pa. — Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today reported that the canvass by counties of ballots cast in the Nov. 3 general election is nearing completion.
“We are extremely grateful to all 67 counties who have been working overtime and putting in an extraordinary effort to count every vote, with so far more than 6.8 million votes having been counted,” Secretary Boockvar said. “The counties continue to adjudicate and count the approximately 100,000 provisional ballots issued to voters at the polls on Election Day, as well as the more than 28,000 military and overseas ballots that were cast in this election.”
Under state law, county boards of election must individually adjudicate each provisional ballot and assess whether they meet the standards for counting. The counties do so by verifying the voter was registered to vote in the precinct in which the ballot was cast, and that the voter did not cast a mail-in ballot prior to requesting the provisional ballot at the polling place.
Higher numbers of provisional ballots were cast this year due to new laws and procedures created pursuant to two bipartisan election reform measures, Act 77 of 2019 and Act 12 of 2020.
As of Friday midday, approximately 40,000 of the provisional ballots cast have been counted or partially counted, and these numbers will continue to climb over the next few days.
The department also reported that 28,529 military and overseas absentee ballots were cast. November 10 was the deadline for counties to receive uniformed and overseas civilian absentee (UOCAVA) ballots.
Based on the unofficial returns submitted by all the counties to the Department of State, Secretary Boockvar has determined that she will not be ordering a recount and recanvass of the election returns in the counties, as no statewide candidate was defeated by one-half of one percent or less of the votes cast. This includes the following races: President of the United States, Attorney General, Auditor General, and State Treasurer.
Approximately 10,000 mail ballots that were cast on or before Nov. 3 were received by counties between 8 p.m. November 3 and 5 p.m. Nov. 6. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in September that counties should count mail ballots received through 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, if they are postmarked by 8 p.m. Election Day. The court also ruled that counties should count those ballots if there is an illegible or missing postmark, unless there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the ballot was mailed after Election Day deadline. These ballots are not of a sufficient number to impact the no-recount determination of any of the statewide races.
Up-to-date election returns showing votes cast as reported from each county can be found on the department’s voting website, votesPA.com. Additionally, the new dashboard at votesPA.com/CountingOpens In A New Window provides the numbers of mail and absentee ballots cast, counted, and remaining to be counted in each county; the in-person precincts counted; and provisional ballot counts.
As of Friday afternoon, Biden was reported to have a lead of about 60,000 votes in Pennsylvania, or about 0.8 percent.