Rate of rejected ballots lower in November than primaries: AP analysis

Rate of rejected ballots lower in November than primaries: AP analysis
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The rate of rejected ballots was lower in November's general election than in swing-state primaries, an AP analysis reported, a result of increased voter education, support from volunteers and efforts to make mail-in voting easier.

In Wisconsin, the overall number of ballots tossed out and the rejection rate fell from the April primary to the general election, according to the AP.

During the state’s primary, which took place during the start of the pandemic, roughly 23,000 absentee ballots were rejected, compared to the 4,000 that were rejected in November, even as the number of absentee ballots cast increased from nearly 1.2 million during the primary to 2 million in the general election.


Election officials and voting experts credited the reductions to large-scale voter education efforts, work by volunteers to help voters fix ballot complications, and other attempts to make absentee voting easier, including new ways for voters to track their ballots, the AP reported.

Some even believe that the concerns about delays from the U.S. Postal Service contributed to the decline, which may have motivated voters to submit their ballots early, or use the drop boxes deployed for the election, according to the AP.

In Ohio, the rejection rate dropped from 1.35 percent in the April primary to just 0.42 percent in the general election, the AP found. Overall, absentee ballots made up 36 percent of all votes cast in the state.

The state’s top election official, a Republican, said that more user-friendly voting materials and the requirement for election officials to call and email voters about ballot issues rather than notifying them via email contributed to the reduced error rate, the AP wrote.

The trend continued in Florida, where the rejection rate dropped from about 1.3 percent during the March primary to just shy of 0.3 percent in November, the AP reported.

According to the United States Elections Project, an estimated 65 million people cast mail ballots in the 2020 election, which was almost double the 33.3 million who voted by mail in 2016. 

Despite the success of absentee voting from the primaries to the general election, Republican lawmakers in a number of states have amplified former President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE’s groundless claims of election fraud, in an effort to establish strict limits on absentee voting, the AP reported.

One example cited by the AP is in Georgia, where Republican lawmakers are advocating for the elimination of no-excuse absentee voting, which would require voters to present a reason.