More than 10.8 million mail-in ballots went “unaccounted for” in California’s midterm elections last year, data published by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) reveals.
In 2022, California election officials mailed out more than 22.1 million ballots to registered voters, the data published by PILF shows. Of those, more than 10.8 million went “unaccounted for” as researchers said election officials can only make assumptions as to what happened with the ballots.
“Typically, when a polling place opens and closes, there is an accounting of all election materials. Significant issues arise when incidents occur such as ballots disappearing at poll closing time. With mass mail elections, problems accumulate,” PILF researchers state:
After accounting for polling place votes and rejected ballots in November 2022, there were more than 10 million ballots left outstanding, meaning election officials do not know what happened to them. It is fair to assume that the bulk of these were ignored or ultimately thrown out by the intended recipients. But, under mass mail elections, we can only assume what happened. Mail voting practices have an insurmountable information gap. The public cannot know how many ballots were disregarded, delivered to wrong mailboxes, or even withheld from the proper recipient by someone at the same address. [Emphasis added]
Meanwhile, more than 226,000 mail-in ballots were rejected in the 2022 primary and general midterm elections in California, including more than 120,000 mail-in ballots that were thrown out in the general election.
The data published by PILF finds that more than 800 mail-in ballots were rejected after California election officials discovered the person who cast them had already voted.
Likewise, more than 57,000 mail-in ballots were rejected for arriving late, nearly 48,000 for not having a matching signature, nearly 12,000 for having no signature, and 660 for refusing to provide any identification.
“Mail ballots disenfranchise,” PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a statement.
“There are many reasons mail ballots fail ultimately to count. No one casting a ballot at home can correct an error before it’s too late,” Adams said. “California’s vote-by-mail demonstration should serve as a warning to state legislators elsewhere.”