Of more than 22.1 million ballots mailed to registered California voters, nearly 10.8 million were unused, according to data published by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF).
Update, January 27, 2023: This story and headline have been revised to use the term “unused,” “not cast,” or “uncast” instead of “unaccounted for” to describe the 10.8 million ballots that the California Secretary of State’s office has indicated were not cast. Joe Kocurek, Press Secretary for the California Secretary of State, said in an email to Breitbart News on January 23, “The number of ballots not cast is 10,793,610. Counties mailed ballots to active registered voters at their most recent address on file. Security measures include a unique number assigned to each ballot and the verification of the voter’s signature with one on file, so those votes were not cast. If a voter does not receive their ballot, they can request a replacement ballot through Election Day. This replacement ballot is subject to verification that the missing ballot was not cast.”
Update, January 20, 2023: Reuters claims the California Secretary of State’s office indicated the 10.8 million unaccounted-for ballots were uncast. Breitbart has requested comment from the California Secretary of State. Look for updates on this developing story.
PILF researchers said election officials can only make assumptions as to what happened with the 10.8 million uncast 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,” according to PILF researchers. They stated:
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.”
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.