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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 5, 2020

No, more mail-in ballots weren’t counted in a Pennsylvania county than were cast

If Your Time is short

  • An image of a TV graphic listing mail-in ballots cast and counted is authentic, but it’s wrong. 
  • The TV station told us the numbers were incorrect.
  • The state’s elections website shows that fewer mail-in ballots had been cast than were issued.

An image of a TV graphic that’s circulating on social media is being used to cast doubt on the integrity of the election results in Lancaster County, Pa., but the station told us that it was a mistake. 

The graphic shows three numbers. The first — 108,539 — is described as "mail in ballot requests." The second — 89,681 — is described as "mail in ballots returned" and the third — 142,584 — is described as "mail in ballots counted."

"Anyone see a problem with this?" one person who shared the image said.

There is an obvious problem: the number of mail-in ballots the graphic says were counted exceeds the number of mail-in ballots that voters returned. 

The CBS affiliate in Harrisburg, Pa., which ran the graphic, told PolitiFact that the numbers in the graphic were incorrect.

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A producer for the station told fact-checker Lead Stories that the graphic "pulled together both mail-in and in-person ballot numbers and for a while that screen showed the wrong number."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

When we checked the Pennsylvania Department of State’s election website on Nov. 5, Lancaster County had reported that 107,949 absentee and mail-in ballots had been issued to voters, 91,188 had been cast, and 90,198 had been counted.

The Lancaster County elections board website showed that, in all, 273,527 ballots had been cast by mail or in person. The majority of those votes went to President Donald Trump, who leads Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with 156,938 votes to Biden’s 112,536.  

We rate the claim that more mail-in ballots were counted in Lancaster County that were cast False.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


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No, more mail-in ballots weren’t counted in a Pennsylvania county than were cast

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