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Pennsylvania counties haven’t done away with mail-in voting

  • By Ali Swenson/The Associated Press
A person drops off a mail-in ballot at an election ballot return box in Willow Grove, Pa., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.

A person drops off a mail-in ballot at an election ballot return box in Willow Grove, Pa., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.

CLAIM: “BREAKING: Pennsylvania counties will not be accepting mail-in ballots.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There’s no truth to claims that counties in Pennsylvania are doing away with mail-in voting. State law holds that any qualified voter across the state may apply for and vote using a mail-in ballot.

THE FACTS: Social media users are falsely claiming Pennsylvania is banning mail-in voting in response to a vaguely worded post that amassed thousands of retweets on Wednesday.

“BREAKING: Pennsylvania counties will not be accepting mail-in ballots,” the tweet read. Twitter users shared the tweet with claims that Pennsylvania would no longer accept mail-in voting as a legal voting method.

But there’s been no such change to the state’s voting laws, which allow any voter in Pennsylvania to choose to vote by mail without giving a reason. A 2019 law that expanded mail-in voting in the state is being challenged in court, but remains in place.

Until 2019, Pennsylvania allowed mail-in voting only for voters with a medical problem, planned travel or some other complication that would prevent them from voting in person on Election Day.

A legislative deal that year put an end to straight-ticket voting, a priority of Republicans, in exchange for allowing anyone to request a ballot in the mail, a change sought by Democrats. Since the 2020 election, some Pennsylvania Republicans have sought to overturn that law, and a statewide court ruled the law unconstitutional, but it remains in effect while the state Supreme Court considers the case on appeal.

In an unrelated case, Pennsylvania’s elections agency sued three Republican-controlled county governments on Tuesday, seeking to force their election boards to report primary results that include ballots with undated exterior envelopes — the subject of several other lawsuits.

No party in either case is advocating for the total elimination of mail-in ballots.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.

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