Mail-in voters in Pennsylvania are now wondering if their votes will count after election officials announced that an error by the ballot printing company resulted in tens of thousands of ballots being sent to the wrong people.
According to the Allegheny County Elections Division, the error impacted nearly 30,000 voters in the county, home to Pittsburgh, the state’s second-most populous city.
The blame has landed on Midwest Direct, the company that printed, collated, and mailed the ballots. A “mapping error” reportedly resulted in voters’ information being matched to the ballot for the next person in the batch, county officials said.
The county has developed an online tool to help voters check whether they were impacted by the defective batch.
The county plans to send replacement ballots to those voters, and the Pennsylvania Department of State will be working with the county to support the effort, Jonathan M. Marks, deputy secretary for elections and commissions told the Bucks County Courier Times.
This will not risk duplicate ballots being cast, Marks assured, explaining that the county and the ballot company have isolated the affected voters and will be able to ensure that the correct ballot is counted.
The Courier Times also reported another issue with mail-in ballots in the state: some voters wrote their birthdays next to their signatures on their voter declaration instead of the date the ballot was signed.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar assured voters who made this error that it will not impact their vote.
“Their ballot will not be tossed because they put the wrong date,” Boockvar told the paper. “That’s not a basis for rejection.”
Marks noted that voters must sign the declaration, but said he’s not aware of a law requiring the date to be accurate.
That’s not the only peril to befall Pennsylvania’s remote voters, as the Courier Times adds that the state’s ballot status tracker might be inaccurate:
Officials have become aware that the ballot status tracker does not always reflect precise dates or information, Boockvar said. It depends on when and how counties update information in the system.
The Department of State is working with the counties, and another training is being offered on Wednesday afternoon to help ensure that the notifications are issued accurately.
Boockvar predicted that the tracker will be more accurate soon as counties begin to turn around the distribution of the ballots more frequently.
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