There have been many claims that votes were received from dead voters in the 2020 US presidentil election.

For example, @AndySwan tweeted:

Joe Biden was so inspiring that all the 90+ year olds in Pennsylvania registered to vote this year, setting a huge record! Graph of registered voters by age

He follows up with examples of voters apparently born in the 1850s:

List of voters is very old dates of birth

Were there a large number of votes received from registered voters that were suspiciously old?

Related question: Does this video prove that a provably dead person in Michigan voted by absentee ballot?

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    If you are thinking about posting an answer or your opinions of politics in the comments, please try the CTRL-W shortcut.
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 8, 2020 at 12:41
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    I*m voting to close because this question is clearly asking something that's currently under investigation by the courts, which is explicitly one of the community-specific reasons that can make questions off-topic for skeptics.SE.
    – Schmuddi
    Nov 9, 2020 at 15:18
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    @Schmuddi Do you have a citation that this particular issue is currently subject to court proceedings?
    – JBentley
    Nov 9, 2020 at 18:55
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    @Oddthinking I tried that one out of curiosity. Good thing I already knew CTRL+SHIFT+T :)
    – smcs
    Nov 10, 2020 at 11:17
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    Even if the underlying data was accurate (which others have addressed), it would be hardly surprising that older, and presumably less mobile, people choose to vote by mail more than younger people. Even more so during a Covid pandemic. Nov 11, 2020 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


First, the graphs

In the charts posted, the blue line shows the proportion of 90's registered to vote. The orange bars show the actual number of 90's registered to vote.

Although the two graphs are scaled the same as each other, they use a different scale on the left as on the right, and the data compiler has fixed the scales so that on the "Democrat counties" (top) graph the blue line is above the bars, and on the "Other counties" (bottom) graph, the blue line is below the bars.

This gives the false impression that the Democrats somehow have "dead people" voting. This is false also for other reasons:

  • The graphs do not show how many people actually voted.

  • Each graph shows essentially the same data but presented differently.

  • There is no data for any other age group to compare with.

The graphs below are redrawn so that data are separated back to different graphs, and now like is compared with like.

They show that there were more 90+ people registered to vote in "Other" counties, but that the proportion per 100,000 population is more in "Democrat" counties, in other words the density of 90+ voters is greater in "Democrat" counties.

enter image description here

They say nothing about any discrepancy between the number of registered voters and the number of votes cast. They reveal nothing about a supposed Democratic plot, as there is a large increase in voters from all counties.

Second, the table of voters

The data can be seen in the public records of Pennsylvania at https://data.pa.gov/Government-Efficiency-Citizen-Engagement/2020-General-Election-Mail-Ballot-Requests-Departm/mcba-yywm/

The table in the question showing just 11 voters born before 1900 is exactly the same as the 11 voter registrations shown in the Pa. data table, when ordered by DOB. So here is the source.

The table is headed

  • 2020 General Election Mail Ballot Requests

and the column headings support that. The second column (not shown by OP) is

  • Applicant party designation

which reveals that of the 11 records selected 3 were Republican and 8 were Democrat. This suggests the reason for them may have nothing to do with fraud attributable to any party.

There is also a group of records dated 1/1/1800, again with a variety of party designations. The reason for these is clearly administrative: the web page states that 1/1/1800 is used as a placeholder for privacy reasons.

Considering how few registered voters there are who are unreasonably old, the reason is far more likely to be clerical than fraudulent.

The data is about mail-in votes. It is well known that the number of mail-in votes has increased dramatically this year due to covid-19, and it is also known that Republicans were dissuaded from voting by mail. Here is one report from npr dated August 2020.

So this is where the apparent big increase comes from: mail-in registrations. Although the graphs are for the over-90s, I expect that there is an increase across all age ranges in 2020.

Back to the question: Were a large number of votes from suspiciously old Pennsylvanians received in the 2020 US presidential election?

  • Since the evidence to support that claim shows only age 90+ voting registrations, the presumption is that the data is presented to make it seem that way.

  • Just 11 records out of about 3 million is not a 'suspiciously large number'.

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    Also worth noting: "Date of Birth: This is the voter's date of birth. The reason some birth dates will display as 1/1/1800 is due to confidentiality reasons of the registered votes. Usually this is for victims of domestic violence." So I wouldn't be basing any legal argument on the date of birth listed in this dataset.
    – ManicDee
    Nov 9, 2020 at 0:27
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    From a developer view point, I have seen some database tables that do not allow NULL values for some data they should allow, and they set a fixed magic-value to represent a unknown/non-set value. Looks like you found a similar use case
    – bradbury9
    Nov 9, 2020 at 7:58
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    @ManicDee The "1/1/1800" explanation doesn't cover any of the dates of birth shown in the screenshot, which range from 1850 to 1899. Since this would make most of them eligible for the Guinness Book of Records at ages from 120 and 170 years old, there is clearly some problem with this data, although it's as likely to be a clerical error as fraud.
    – IMSoP
    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:24
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    @IMSoP they are 11 voters. Which is most likely: "large number of votes received from registered voters that were suspiciously old" or "clerical error"? Nov 9, 2020 at 11:45
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    @WeatherVane I absolutely agree that clerical error is most likely. I'm just saying that the note about 1800 doesn't apply to them.
    – IMSoP
    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:47

The table posted in the question, showing 11 very old voters, is taken from the public records of Pennsylvania. When ordered by date of birth, it exactly matches.

The data shown is for registered mail voters. Here is a chart by age of voter.

enter image description here

I found a few anomolies, for example one voter was born on 7 May 2020 and there is one other minor. Also ignored are those with DOB 1/1/1800 (or none) which is for privacy reasons. The number of age 100+ voters is vanishingly small.

The chart clearly shows the claim that there are a disproportionate number of unreasonably old voters, or aged 90+ voters, to be false.

What it does show is that there were more Democratic mail-in voters than Republican.

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    It would be useful to put an exact figure on "vanishingly small", just in case anyone thinks you're exaggerating (to be clear, I don't; I saw the same in the online visualiser for the data). Nudging the "20+" bucket to "18+" might also be sensible (assuming voting age is 18), since I imagine that accounts for all but a handful of people in the "10+" bucket.
    – IMSoP
    Nov 9, 2020 at 14:16
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    Exactly what I was asking for in the comments to your previous answer. Thanks! +1
    – Spc_555
    Nov 9, 2020 at 14:16
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    Here's an alternative graph, plotted for every age individually except 0 and 14, on a logarithmic axis, to show just how few there are over 100: i.sstatic.net/M60Pr.png The two spikes correspond, as you say, to the dummy values 1st Jan 1800 and 1900.
    – IMSoP
    Nov 9, 2020 at 14:48
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    @WeatherVane is it possible that 1/1/1900 is another sort of placeholder date? 1/1/1800 might be used for privacy reasons, perhaps 1/1/1900 is used for geriatric voters for whom no verifiable record of DOB exists (e.g. their original birth certificate was lost/misfiled, whatever department responsible for keeping them had a fire, whatever)? With modern recordkeeping such losses are far less likely, but for voters in their 80s or beyond it's not inconceivable that a very small portion did get lost in one way or another.
    – Doktor J
    Nov 11, 2020 at 14:11
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    @DoktorJ my original answer did mention them, but there only 18 records dated 1/1/1900 and so not indicative of any 'large scale fraud'. As for data keeping, a recent question about Judicial Watch suggests that very many states don't clean up their records regardless of political hue. This question, though, does not ask if that is the basis of voting fraud, and it would not be a forgone conclusion that it was the winning party that did so. Nov 11, 2020 at 14:23

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