US citizens living in Israel received multiple email ballots from Pennsylvania to vote in the presidential elections on Thursday, five weeks after election day.
Just received the third set of PA ballots by email this morning! Is anyone paying attention??? @USAmbIsrael @realDonaldTrump @RudyGiuliani @TeamTrump @RED_IN_PA @TrumpWarRoom @PressSec @ pic.twitter.com/wf6sLUOswa
— President-Elect Joshua Wander (@votewander) December 10, 2020
Joshua Wander, a reporter for Israel365 News, was shocked when he opened his email on Thursday morning, December 10, and discovered three sets of email ballots to vote in the US presidential elections that were held on November 3. The email read:
Because you indicated on your absentee ballot application that you would like to receive your ballot electronically for the upcoming election, this notice is being provided to assist you in accessing your ballot materials. In order to better safeguard election materials, we are now sending your ballot in an encrypted email.
To access and download your absentee ballot, you will need to follow the following steps:
- Locate the email with the Subject line that begins with: [Send Secure] Absentee Ballot
- Download the attachment in the email (message.html) and save to your computer or device
- Open the downloaded attachment
- You will be presented with two (2) options to view the contents of the encrypted email
- Option 1: If you received your ballot on a Microsoft email account, you may sign in using those credentials
- Additionally, if your Gmail (or other) email account is linked to the Microsoft email account, you may sign in using those credentials; or
- You may pursue option 2.
- Option 2: You may opt to receive a one-time passcode. If you received your ballot on any other email account, you should follow the “Use a one-time passcode” link. A passcode will then be emailed to you.
- Enter the passcode that you received in a separate email into the prompt on the previous screen and click Continue
- Follow the instructions once you have opened the electronic ballot email contents
(Tip: the decryption process works best using the Google Chrome and Firefox browsers.)
Once you have decrypted the ballot email, you will be able to access your attached ballot. Upon opening your ballot, you will be prompted with the following message: “This document is password protected. Please enter a password” where you will need to enter the following Correspondence ID Number: ********* to unlock your actual ballot. We recommend writing this number down or copying it elsewhere for easy referencing.
If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to call (866-472-7873, Option 4) or email for more information.
Pennsylvania Department of State
Wander, formerly a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania voted via mail-in paper ballot. Wander contacted five acquaintances who had also voted in that county via mail-in ballots and all had received multiple email ballots.
Upon receipt of the email ballots, Wander submitted a request for an investigation by the Congressman, state councilman, county councilman, as well as several attorneys involved in election-related irregularities.
“This makes it absolutely clear that there is a serious glitch in the system that must be explained,” Wander said.
Wander did not, of course, submit the new ballot as that would constitute a federal crime.
Like many counties in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County had certified its vote on November 23.
According to the elections division, Biden had 430,759 votes in Alleghany County to Trump’s 282,913. In 2016, Clinton had 366,934 votes to Trump’s 259,125.
Devorah “Deb” Freeland, a resident of Tsfat (Safed) Israel and a self-described “recovering attorney”, also received several sets of emails.
“My husband and I each received three sets of emails with attachments giving detailed instructions about voting,” Freeland told Israel 365 News. “I tried to go onto the pa.gov site but was unable to.”
Freeland suspected that the email might have been spam or a scammer but the address indicated that it was from the Pennsylvania government’s official site. In addition, she checked with several other US citizens. Allegheny voters in Israel had all received the email ballots but no other recipients have been reported, implying that the emails had been sent out either from the Pennsylvania voting system or by someone who had access to their email list.
Like Wander, she and her husband had applied for absentee ballots and voted via mail. She paid $35 to allow her to track her mail but after the ballot left Israel, she was unable to track it. She attempted to verify that her vote had entered the system but was unable to, with the system reporting “Unable to access; not in the system.” Several of her Pittsburgh acquaintances reported similar issues with verifying their votes.
“Receiving these emails, which are still coming in, just shows me that the Pennsylvania election officials don’t know what they’re doing,” Freeland said. “There’s no rhyme or reason to this. It’s time-stamped today, weeks after the elections. They don’t know what their computer system is doing. How can they report election results if they don’t even know who or when they are sending out mail-in ballots?”
Freeland noted that Pennsylvania was one of the states that preemptively sent out applications for mail-in ballots to all the registered voters. Freeland, like other US citizens in Israel, requested an absentee ballot which required stating a reason for being unable to vote in person.
It is important to note that in pre-election polls, 70% of the 184,000 US citizens of voting age currently residing in Israel supported the reelection of President Trump. Only 17% of the US voters in Israel said they would support Joe Biden. The votes cast by US residents in Israel are recorded in the county they last voted in while residing in the US.
Aviva Fort, a resident of Jerusalem who also cast an absentee ballot in Allegheny County, received multiple emails identical to those received by the other Israeli Allegheny voters. Perhaps more disturbing than getting four emails with the code to open the ballot was that Fort also voted by mail but was unable to verify online that her vote had been counted by election officials.
Her husband, Josef, also received the emails inviting him to vote.
“This is not a phishing scam,” Josef said. “It seems to be a glitch in the email system. The email is certainly from the Allegheny voting system that includes the password for the ballot. But they are not asking for any information or for me to fill anything out or to send them any information.”
“The Pennsylvania presidential election has been fraught with irregularities, illegalities, and even fraud,” Zell said. “This latest batch of email ballots is puzzling and worrisome. It highlights the inherent and systemic problems in Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting. Whether it will affect the ultimate outcome of the election in Pennsylvania is a different story.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as details emerge