ProPublica: Millions of Vote-by-Mail Ballots Aren't 'Missing' — They're Just 'Most Likely in Landfills'

CORRECTS TO REJECTED, NOT ILLEGAL - Rejected mail in ballots sit in a box as members of the canvassing board verify signatures on ballots at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Miami. Voters go to the polls in the midterm elections Nov. 6. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Last week I wrote about a new constellation of leftist philanthropy trying to influence the rules of the 2020 election, including pushing vote-by-mail, paying reporters to deny that voter fraud exists, and lobbying Congress to federalize state power over elections. Less than 24 hours later, I saw these dollars in action – through a smear by the propagandists at ProPublica.

ProPublica is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) posing as a newsroom. It is the new model in a changing media landscape, where groups like George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society give ProPublica hundreds of thousands of dollars and ProPublica does what the funders ask.

It should be no surprise that ProPublica is tasked with attacking anyone who reports on voter fraud or election security vulnerabilities but sometimes it rises to the level of parody.

A few weeks ago, my organization reported that federal data published by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission revealed a terrible problem with vote-by-mail. It turns out that tens of millions of ballots went missing, were rejected, went to the wrong address, and ultimately were never counted as valid votes.

You can read the disheartening data here.

Reporting on millions of ballots that were mailed out but never counted as valid votes is too much for ProPublica’s donor masters. So this weekend, Derek Willis of ProPublica penned a ham-handed attack on the revelation.

Willis responded to the report by arguing that these millions of ballots were in fact not “missing!” He insinuated that the whole kerfuffle of millions of mail ballots not ever coming back and getting counted was all cooked up.

The report describes as “missing” all mail ballots that were delivered to a valid address but not returned to be counted. In a statement accompanying the report, Adams said that unaccounted-for ballots “represent 28 million opportunities for someone to cheat.” In particular, the organization argues that the number of unreturned ballots would grow if more states adopt voting by mail.

Enter ProPublica’s source, Professor Paul Gronke from Reed College.

Gronke said the ballots weren’t really missing, they were “most likely in landfills.”


Jimmy Hoffa isn’t missing. He’s probably in a block of cement under a parking lot.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, Americans heard increasing calls for an emergency transformation to all-mail voting in 2020. But to learn that since November 2012, 28 million ballots went missing or could not be “tracked” by the election officials who put them in the mail, well that’s a game-changer for mail ballot proposals.

Learning that another 2 million ballots went to wrong addresses largely thanks to outdated voter registration rolls certainly caused a shock. Finally, when folks read in The Washington Post that first-time mail users are the most susceptible to seeing their ballots rejected, it must be frightening to learn that another 1 million suffered that fate over the same period. Could they be next this fall?

The left poured so much money into the mail ballot push, even the last in line – Never Trump outfits like “Republicans for the Rule of Law” — got a piece of the action.

Savor the irony – an outfit purportedly for the rule of law supporting a proposal that gives oxygen to the lawless. After all, the ballots didn’t go “missing,” they’re just in landfills!!

Americans are regularly scolded by the likes of ProPublica and others to remember that fraud, irregularities, and failures do not occur on a scale to affect a election. But these federal data show that for every vote Hillary Clinton won over Donald Trump in the popular vote match-up, another two mail ballots went missing or to a wrong address that year.

Once you get past the semantics, the average and fair reader of the data understands the problem clearly: millions of ballots are regularly requested, mailed, and then fall off the radar. They don’t come back to election offices counted as valid votes.

Vote-by-mail is bad if for no other reason it makes the election process non-transparent. Observers cannot watch the voting. They cannot see the Mississippi notary Carrie Kate Windham voting the ballot of Susie Wood and others. Derek Willis at ProPublica probably doesn’t know that story. But I do, because I was on the trial team at the Justice Department that proved it in federal court.

ProPublica indeed caught a tiny typographical error in the press release version of the actual report involving the number of undeliverable mail ballots in 2018. Congratulations, Derek. Your masters should be pleased.

Derek’s microscopic catch reflected a 1.7 percent difference in the total number of mail ballot failures tallied since 2012 out of a total of 31,783,441 failed mail ballots. They failed because they were mailed out and never came back to election officials to be counted as valid votes.

Some of those 31 million ballots, you will recall, are “in landfills.”

So instead of 32,327,377 failed mail ballots, there were 31,783,441. That settles it, let’s turn over all elections to the United States Postal Service.

Instead, consider the deliberate data deception of a far worse kind by ProPublica and their allies in the foundation-funded media.

They deliberately deceive America when they say that voter fraud doesn’t exist. They deliberately provide false data when they say that voter fraud is essentially nonexistent. They deliberately provide deceptive data when they say voter fraud doesn’t matter and ignore the many many cases where elections were overturned because of voter fraud.

That’s the real deception: ProPublica’s deliberately downplaying the instances of how voter fraud corrodes the political process.

I’ll take a press release transcription mistake showing a 1 percent error any day over years of lies from the foundation-funded media about voter fraud.

Since we are talking about deliberate deceptions by the likes of ProPublica, check out Monday’s Supreme Court order docket.

They call some of us “vote suppressors” who are no such thing, routinely defaming me and Hans von Spakovsky (and others) falsely. They won’t report at all of my nine-year lawsuit in Guam where I, without being paid, undertook the task of knocking down racial barriers to voting. They won’t ever report on Davis v. Guam, including two victorious trips to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court – not to mention the many 15-hour airplane trips to Guam. The people attacking us as “vote suppressors” never mention the many years of toil in courtrooms that we have put in to ensure the right to vote.

If they did tell the truth, it would undermine their lie about me and others being “vote suppressors.” They lie about voter fraud. They lie about people who fight voter fraud. They aren’t worthy of being called journalists.

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