Key deadline to challenge mail-in ballot applications in Pennsylvania passes with few filings

A key deadline for challenging voter eligibility in Pennsylvania passed Friday without either party challenging a single application for mail-in ballots in the state’s largest city of Philadelphia, an election official confirmed to CNN on Friday, cutting off a pathway to claim voter fraud.

“In Philly, we set out and voted on a procedure complying with the Pennsylvania election code for how to challenge those mail-in ballots whether they are absentee ballots or regular mail-in ballots and as of close of business today, we did not receive a challenge to any of them,” said Al Schmidt, Philadelphia County GOP commissioner.
So far, Philadelphia has had over 400,000 mail-in applications for ballots. None were challenged, Schmidt said. They’ve gotten 325,000 of them back and all are expected to be counted at the Pennsylvania Convention Center starting at 7 a.m. on Election Day.
    About 1.1 million voters are expected to cast their ballot, according to election officials. Those ballots themselves could still face a legal challenge.
    The deadline offered an opportunity for Republicans, who have been falsely claiming widespread voter fraud over mail-in ballots, and others, to challenge voters whom they believed may have been requesting applications fraudulently. State law says the county would need challenges to voters’ qualifications to receive absentee ballots before 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election.
    Voters who would be ineligible include any person who is not a US citizen, anyone under the age of 18, anyone who didn’t reside in the county, according to Schmidt. “The deadline today isn’t so much challenging the ballots, it’s challenging the voters’ eligibility to cast a ballot,” Schmidt said.

    237 ballot applications challenged

    Across the state in Allegheny County, Republicans did challenge 237 mail-in ballot applications, a small fraction of the more than 413,000 that were sent out, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
      It was not immediately clear whether the Republicans mounted challenges in other counties around the state. Republicans in a news release Friday said the applications were challenged on issues with voter ID numbers.
      “The RCAC has submitted challenges after comparing the voter ID numbers on Allegheny County’s publicly available list of individuals who have requested absentee ballots against the voter ID numbers on the Commonwealth’s publicly available close of business voter file,” said Sam DeMarco the county’s GOP party spokesperson said. “That comparison has indicated that the challenged individuals’ voter ID numbers do not appear on the Commonwealth’s publicly available close of business voter file, suggesting that the challenged individuals may not be registered Pennsylvania electors.”

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