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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 9, 2022

Pennsylvania ballot deadline was 8 p.m. Nov. 8, not Nov. 14

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  • Mail-in ballots needed to be received by county election officials by 8 p.m. Nov. 8.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz on Nov. 9 conceded his Pennsylvania race to his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. But before the polls closed on election night, misinformation about eligible ballots swept across social media. 

"Pennsylvania judge allows ballots to count that are received up until November 14th," read a screenshot of a tweet. "This is unconstitutional." 

An Instagram post sharing the screenshot was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The original tweet has since been deleted because, its poster said, "it wasn’t worded perfectly" and "was causing some confusion." 

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website, all ballots needed to be received by county election offices by 8 p.m. Nov. 8. A department spokesperson told USA Today that there has been no ruling extending Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot deadline. 

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Jeff Greenburg, a former elections director in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, who is now a senior adviser to The Voter Project, a nonprofit in the state that focuses on voting access, told Votebeat it appears the tweet conflated news about Philadelphia’s poll book reconciliation process and a misunderstanding about mail-in voter verification. Neither of these unrelated issues involved changing the ballot deadline, Votebeat said. 

Poll book reconciliation is a way to flag mail ballots submitted by voters who also voted in person. Some Republicans sued the city of Philadelphia after election officials said they would carry out that process after the vote count to accelerate vote tallying, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported

A judge criticized election officials for that decision but said it was too close to Election Day to order them to reinstate the process. Nevertheless, Philadelphia’s city commissioners voted on the morning of Election Day to do so anyway. But none of this had any bearing on the deadline for mail-in ballots, which remained Nov. 8.

Military and overseas citizens can use what's called a federal write-in absentee ballot to vote in elections and these ballots must be received by the seventh day after Election Day. This year, that's Nov. 15. But that's not new, and a judge did not just authorize it.

Claims that a Pennsylvania judge said ballots received up until Nov. 14 could be counted are False.

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Pennsylvania ballot deadline was 8 p.m. Nov. 8, not Nov. 14

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