FACT CHECK: Did A Pennsylvania Judge Rule That 200,349 Absentee Ballots Are Invalid?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook claims a Pennsylvania judge “ruled that 200,349 absentee ballots in Allegheny County where the voter didn’t date their declaration are invalid.”

Verdict: False

While the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania did rule that 2,349 mail-in ballots that were submitted on time but lacked a written date were invalid, the decision was later overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the ballots were counted. There is no evidence that 200,349 absentee ballots were invalidated in Allegheny County.

Fact Check:

The image shows a Parler post, purportedly from former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, that reads, “BREAKING: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge ruled that 200,349 absentee ballots in Allegheny County where the voter didn’t date their declaration are invalid, reversing a lower court judge. This is a Trump win. He just won Pennsylvania again!”

Powell, who has claimed the election was stolen, has filed lawsuits in battleground states challenging election results that have been thrown out by the courts, according to The Associated Press. The Parler post did not come from her account. While the account bears her name and picture, it lacks the “verified influencer” badge that her real account, @SidneyPowell, has.

The claim within the Parler post doesn’t hold up either. It inaccurately asserts that the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania reversed a previous court decision and ruled that over 200,000 absentee ballots shall not be counted due to voters not dating them, when in reality it pertained to only 2,349 ballots that were ultimately included in the county’s tally.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on Nov. 19 reversed a Nov. 18 ruling from the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and asked the Common Pleas court to direct the county to exclude the 2,349 ballots lacking dates from the county’s tally, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Common Pleas court decision, allowing the ballots to be counted, Forbes reported. The Common Pleas court judge had said on Nov. 18 that the 2,349 ballots “must be counted” despite the technical defect, according to local NPR station WESA.

“In November, the PA Supreme Court permitted the counting of 2,349 ballots in the county that were submitted without a written date on the outside, but were otherwise correct and delivered on time,” Amie Downs, a spokesperson for Allegheny County, said in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims More Mail-In Ballots Were Returned Than Requested In Pennsylvania)

Pennsylvania certified its presidential election results on Nov. 24, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. President-elect Joe Biden received 3,458,229 votes, while President Donald Trump received 3,377,674 votes, according to a press release from the Pennsylvania government.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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