Washington, D.C. – In a stark reversal, Philadelphia’s City Commissioners voted 2-1 this morning to protect the integrity of today’s election by reinstating poll book reconciliation. The Commissioner’s decision was spurred by litigation supported by Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) and undoes a decision made just days earlier to scrap the commonsense and legally required procedure that guards against people voting more than once.
“Conducting poll book reconciliation will safeguard Philadelphia’s ballot box from duplicate votes,” said Derek Lyons, President and CEO of Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE). “Any duplicate vote undermines the integrity of the system. We know that double voting occurs and that it happens for various reasons, good, bad, ugly, and illegal. Conducting the audit will protect the integrity of the count. As voters increasingly opt to vote by mail-in ballot, it is more critical to audit the ballots to guard against double voting.”
This audit, known as poll book reconciliation, matches up absentee/mail-in ballots received against in-person votes to protect against someone voting by mail and in person. This simple process identified 40 such duplicate ballots during the 2020 election in Philadelphia, and it is becoming increasingly crucial as absentee/mail-in voting grows more popular.
Lyons added, “If there are delays, only the Commissioners are to blame. The Commissioners initially dismissed RITE’s many attempts to urge them to reinstate poll book reconciliation and upgrade to electronic poll books. They ignored a letter, public comment, and even advance notice of the lawsuit. After the lawsuit was filed, the Commissioners derided it as frivolous and disclaimed any obligation to protect the City’s ballot box from duplicate votes. And worse, the Democrat Party argued in court to leave the ballot box vulnerable to double voting.”
The judge in the case disagreed with the Commissioners and the Democrats. In her November 7th order, the judge observed:
The Commissioners’ conduct would “reduce rather than improve” the administration of the election.
The Commissioners’ “decision to remove” poll book reconciliation was “an erroneous and reversible exercise of administrative agency discretion.”
The Commissioners “unwisely discounted the inherent deterrence of fraudulent voting” that could be attributed to poll book reconciliation. And the Commissioners “unwisely discounted the inherent fraud detection value” created by poll book reconciliation.
The Commissioners “failed to consider the encouragement of fraudulent voting that could reasonably result from [their] late date public announcement of removal of the previously publicly touted and employed” poll book reconciliation process.
RITE will continue to closely monitor election law administration in Philadelphia. Learn about the latest developments regarding election integrity by following RITE on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Restoring_USA
Co-founded in 2022 by National Finance Chairman Steve Wynn, Senior Advisor Karl Rove, and Chairman of the Board Bobby R. Burchfield, RITE is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rule of law in elections. Working with some of the finest lawyers in the country, RITE supports faithful enforcement of valid, properly enacted and adopted laws and regulations that promote secure, efficient, and accurate elections throughout the United States.