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(LifeSiteNews) – An analysis of mail balloting data has concluded that nearly 15 million ballots mailed to voters have not been accounted for.

“Based on data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, an analysis by the Public Interest Legal Foundation shows almost 15 million mail ballots effectively disappeared after election officials gave them to the U.S. Postal Service to deliver to voters,” election integrity experts Hans von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams wrote in a September 16 article for the Washington Examiner.

Von Spakovsky is a former Department of Justice attorney and is a legal expert with the Heritage Foundation. Adams is the president of PILF. Both were also on the Trump administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

“Some ballots were lost. Some may have ended up on the floors of apartment complexes, never to be claimed. Some went to addresses where the registrant no longer lives,” the pair wrote. “Some may have gone to vacant lots and businesses. Some, having never been requested by the voter, were never returned. Others were rejected by election officials when they were returned.”

They based their comments on an August 17 report from PILF that analyzed mail-in ballots sent to voters in 42 states.

“In the face of a pandemic, states from across the nation hastily pushed traditionally in-person voters to mail ballots while, at the same time, trying to learn how to even administer such a scenario,” the report said. “Experts at PILF warned that the lost ballot problem would worsen in 2020 compared to previous years. In total, elections in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 saw more than 43.1 million unaccounted for mail ballots.”

The researchers at the legal foundation said 90 million ballots were sent out, but what happened to 14.7 million is “unknown.” Another 1.1 million were declared undeliverable and 560,814 were rejected.

The 2016 election had half as many mail ballots sent out at 41.6 million. However, roughly a third as many were “unknown” as in 2020, at 5.9 million.

The report puts the problem of balloting into further perspective.

“President Joe Biden carried Arizona by 10,457 votes, yet Maricopa County reportedly sent ballots to 110,092 outdated or wrong addresses,” the report noted. “The same scenario roughly happened in Nevada, where Biden carried with 33,596 votes, yet Clark County bounced 93,279 ballots. The lesson is clear: increased reliance on mass mail voting must correlate with aggressive voter registration list maintenance.”

Adams and Spakovsky said the report is further evidence of why House Resolution 1, which among other things would mandate mail-in balloting nationwide, must be rejected.

“This report reveals the potential for errors and fraud is extremely high with mail ballots and automatic voter registration,” the two election experts wrote. “Of course, some in Congress are trying to mandate both automatic vote by mail and automatic voter registration.”

“These figures detail how the 2020 push to mail voting needs to be a one-year experiment,” Adams said in a separate statement.

He said bills such as H.R.1 “risk inflating these number even further, pushing our election system toward error, disenfranchisement and ultimately widespread doubt about election outcomes.”

The pair of experts said that mail balloting could work in theory, but not with the current problems with state voter rolls. “Mail balloting should also be accompanied with security measures such as voter ID requirements and laws that ban candidates, campaign staffers, political consultants, and others with a stake in the outcome from picking up, collecting, and handling ballots.”

Other election reviews have turned up problems.

An election audit in Arizona has flagged tens of thousands of questionable ballots. The findings identified “around 18,000 people [who] voted in the 2020 election in the county but were taken off of voter rolls,” LifeSiteNews reported in July.

The conservative Heritage Foundation also maintains an election fraud database. It lists 1,333 proven cases of fraud, resulting in 1146 criminal convictions. The conservative think tank also has an extensive list of resources on election integrity.