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Lancaster County election officials call for volunteers to help with remarking process amid printing error

Lancaster County election officials issued a call for volunteers after they discovered a printing error on thousands of mail-in ballots.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Lancaster County election officials issued a call for volunteers on Election Day after they discovered a printing error on thousands of mail-in ballots earlier in the day.

According to the county's Board of Elections, a vendor who supplied many of the ballots for Pennsylvania's election printed the wrong identification number on them, making them unable to scan. Officials said about two-thirds of the 21,000 ballots received for the primary election are affected by the mistake.

Now, officials and volunteers will need to remark the affected ballots by hand onto replacement ballots so they can be scanned. 

The Board of Elections says it needs volunteers to both help remark ballots and also observe the remarking process, which may take several days due to the amount of affected ballots.

The Lancaster County Democrats gave the following information regarding the volunteer process: 

"Volunteers will be needed for the next few days to anytime between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM each day. The remarking process will be taking place in the big conference room (Room 102-104) of the Lancaster County Government Building at 150 N. Queen St. (corner of Queen and Chestnut Streets), Lancaster, PA 17603.

If you can assist, please feel free to simply arrive in Room 102-104 anytime between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM starting tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18) and stay for whenever you can. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Board of Elections at 717-299-8293. Please also reach out to LCDC Chair Diane Topakian at 717-319-3661 / dtopakian@gmail.com to let her know you can help."

Lancaster County Democratic County Commissioner John B. Trescot commented on the ballot issue, standing in support of mail-in ballots and reassuring residents that the remarking process will be handled carefully. 

You can read his full statement below. 

"We have a vote counting problem in Lancaster County today. Not a problem with missing ballots, fraudulent ballots or lost ballots. A counting problem. There has been a printing error with the mail in ballots such that the scanners cannot electronically record the votes. So, we are going to have to take each mail in ballot and mark a new ballot that can be scanned with the correct information from the old ballot.

Note the we have done this before. We know how to do it correctly. Unfortunately, with over 21,000 mail in ballots it is going to take time. It may take several days.

So, thank you to all the election officials and volunteers who are going to put in many hours to get this done as fast and accurately as possible. We, the voters of Lancaster County are in your debt.

After the election is over, the Election Board will conduct a thorough review of all processes and vendors. I will personally insist that the review be shared openly with the public.

What is clear is that this situation is not caused by the Act 77 voting bill. It was caused by a printer error. What can be said is that if Act 77 was improved, with 3 days of pre canvassing for example, this situation might have been avoided.

I am not physically in Lancaster on this Election Day, but as a County Commissioner and member of the Election Board I wanted the voters of Lancaster County to know how important your votes are."

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