Official: GOP ballots mislabeled as Democratic on screens at some Pa. polling places


The issue caused a flood of complaints as soon as polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — Election officials reported scattered problems at Pennsylvania polling places on Tuesday, including a “coding error” in one northeastern county that caused Republican primary ballots to be mislabeled as Democratic ballots on some voting machines.

A vendor’s programming error caused GOP primary ballots throughout the county to have “an error in the header when displayed on the viewing screen,” according to Luzerne County elections director Bob Morgan. But he said the error only appeared on the screen, and the ballot printed correctly as a Republican ballot with GOP primary race results.

The Pennsylvania Department of State said it confirmed that Republican voters were shown GOP slates of candidates and that their votes were being recorded correctly. State elections officials said they were awaiting word from Luzerne County on how many polling places and about how many voters had been affected.

Republicans who didn’t want to use the machines were being given the option of voting by provisional ballot that will be reviewed later by the Luzerne County Elections Board, according to Morgan.

The issue caused a flood of complaints as soon as polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Morgan said signs were put up at polling places and a message was posted on the county website informing people about the situation.

“We wish to assure all voters that their ballots will be correctly counted,” he said.

In Lancaster County, meanwhile, elections officials said a printing error meant that more than half of all mail-in ballots would have to be counted by hand, significantly delaying final results.

The Lancaster County Board of Elections said in a statement that about 14,000 multi-sheet ballots were printed in the wrong order. Since county ballot scanners used to count the votes were set up to scan the pages in sequence, they would be unable to read the out-of-order ballots, necessitating a hand-count, officials said.

LNP newspaper reported that earlier in the month, about 2,700 voters were alerted that some had received incorrect voting instructions telling them that they didn’t need to pay postage, and 100 other voters received incorrect return envelopes intended for other voters.

In Fayette County, the Department of State said it appeared that some ballots were “printed with an inaccurate barcode that would have allowed ballots to be optically scanned.” Those ballots were to be stored separately and counted by hand.

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