Public Interest Legal Foundation: 82,766 Wisconsin 2020 Mail Ballots ‘Went Missing or Undeliverable’

A Utah County election worker collect actual mail-in ballots after they were opened for the midterm elections on November 6, 2018 in Provo, Utah. Utah early voting has been highest ever in Utah's midterm elections. One of the main proportions on the ballet in Utah is whether Utah will legalize …
George Frey/Getty Images

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) said on Friday that 82,766 mail ballots sent to voters in Wisconsin’s November 2020 presidential election “went missing or undeliverable,” a number more than four times greater than Joe Biden’s 20,682 vote certified margin of victory in the state.

More than 1.6 million votes were cast in the November 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin, and Biden’s certified margin of victory was just 1.2 percent of all votes cast.

“83K mail ballots went missing or undeliverable amid 20k vote margin of victory in WI 2020 Presidential,” the headline read in a statement that accompanied the release of a report by PILF on Friday morning.

“We now know the cost of the rush to mail balloting – lost ballots. The federal data show the 2020 election had more mail ballots that were never counted than the margin of victory in the Presidential election in Wisconsin. This isn’t the way to run an election. Mail ballots invite error, disenfranchisement of voters, and puts the inept U.S. Post Office determining the outcome of elections,” PILF President J. Christian Adams said in the statement.

The report showed that, unlike the results of the 2012 and 2016, the number of “missing or undeliverable” mail ballots in 2020 exceeded the margin of victory in the election to determine which presidential candidate would be awarded the state’s ten electoral college votes.

In 2020, for instance, 1.4 million ballots were mailed to Wisconsin voters, which was 86 percent of the 1.6 million votes cast. (emphasis added)

Of those 1.4 million mail ballots, 76,308 were classified as “unknown,” while 6,458 were classified as “undeliverable.” Combining those two classifications, 82,766 mail ballots were either “unknown” or “undeliverable,” a number that is 400 percent greater than Biden’s certified 20,682 margin of victory in the state over former President Donald Trump. (emphasis added)

In 2016, just 158,846 ballots were mailed to Wisconsin voters,  a mere 11 percent of  the 1.4 million votes cast in that election. (emphasis added)

Of those 158,846 mail ballots, 11,138 were classified as “unknown,” while 1,846 were classified as “undeliverable.” Combining those two classifications, 12,984 mail ballots were either “unknown” or “undeliverable,” a number that is only 47 percent of Donald Trump’s certified 27,257 vote margin of victory in the state over Hillary Clinton. (emphasis added).

In 2012, 54,077 mail ballots were “undeliverable or unknown,” which was a mere 26 percent of Barack Obama’s 205,204 vote certified margin of victory in the state over Mitt Romney. (emphasis added)

The PILF report released on Friday elaborated on the significance in these differences between 2020 and 2016/2012:

Unlike other states its size with an influence in national politics, Wisconsin could brag about the fact that its counts of undeliverable and “unknown” mail ballots never inundated the margin of victory for a statewide candidate—until the 2020 Election. Expanded vote-by-mail efforts create stress tests on a state’s voter registration list maintenance system and reveal if investments in ballot chains of custody were effective.

“When Wisconsin loses track of more ballots than the difference between winning and losing its Electoral College votes, that is a core system failure,” the report concluded.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.