MEMO: Another Blue Shift Coming in PA Election Returns

Marc Stier |

TO: Editorial Board Writers, Columnists, and Other Interested Parties

FROM: Marc Stier, Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

SUBJECT: Another blue shift coming in PA election returns
DATE: November 7, 2022


In late October of 2020, we released a paper titled, “2020 Election Expectations: High Numbers of Mail-Votes and the Blue Shift.” We explained that due to Democrats being far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail, the initial count of the votes on Election Day would show Republicans ahead in many state-wide and local races—but that as mail ballots were counted, there would be a “blue shift” as vote tallies showed Democrats’ number of votes catching up to, and in many cases surpassing, the Republicans’. We warned that Donald Trump and his followers would use the blue shift to buttress their claims that the 2020 election was rigged—claims that began long before Election Day.

Our predictions about the vote and about how the Republicans would use it to spread lies about vote fraud sadly turned out to be accurate.

I’m writing today to remind you that we expect a similar blue shift in the 2022 election in Pennsylvania. As of four days ago, of about 1.4 million mail ballots requested, just under 300,000 of those requests came from Republican registered voters while almost 1 million of the requests came from Democrats.

We expect mail ballots to be counted more quickly in 2022 than in 2020, both because there will be fewer of them and because the state is requiring all counties to count mail ballots through the night. But there will still be a blue shift as mail ballots are counted.

Thus, we should all expect that Mehmet Oz will be leading John Fetterman in the initial count of ballots released tomorrow evening. Doug Mastriano may well be leading Josh Shapiro. And Republican candidates for Congress in all but the districts with the most lop-sided voter registration might appear to be doing well. But many of these results will look different as mail ballots are counted.

We urge you to remind your readers that this is a likely result, not a sign of voter fraud.

The last thing we all need in the aftermath of the 2022 election is another “Big Lie” about the election results.