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AP analysis: Absentee ballot rejections could soar in battlegrounds

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Atlanta-based state government reporter Christina A. Cassidy and Boston tech reporter Frank Bajak analyzed voter turnout and ballot rejection data, finding that the number of absentee ballot rejections is likely to soar in key presidential battleground states this fall – enough that it could tip the balance in a close race. They also found the problem is more pronounced in some urban areas where Democratic votes are concentrated and rejections trended higher during this year’s primaries. Ballots often go uncounted because they arrived too late in the mail, voters forgot to sign them or signatures didn’t match the one on file at local election offices.

Cassidy and Bajak looked at how many people voted by mail in this year’s post-Covid primaries, the percentage of those ballots that were rejected and the state’s turnout during the 2016 presidential election to project how many absentee ballots could get rejected in the coming election if those numbers remained stable. Their analysis found between 185,000 and 292,000 voters in the seven key states they examined could be disenfranchised.

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A worker processes mail-in ballots at the Bucks County Board of Elections office prior to the primary election in Doylestown, Pa., May 27, 2020. – AP Photo / Matt Slocum
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