Printer Errors to Slow Count in 2 Places

Counties in Oregon, Pennsylvania say the results will be accurate
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2022 6:55 PM CDT
Printers' Mistakes Delay Results in 2 Counties
Polling judge Frank Kosek, right, and Elaine Rhone guide her ballot into a voting machine Tuesday at Mont Alto United Methodist Church in Alto, Pa.   (AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Printing mistakes will force local election officials in Pennsylvania and Oregon to redo thousands of mailed ballots, a laborious process that could delay results for some closely contested races in Tuesday's primaries. In Pennsylvania, where GOP primaries for governor and US Senate are drawing national attention, officials in Republican-leaning Lancaster County said the company that printed its mailed ballots included the wrong ID code, preventing scanning machines from reading them. The problem involved at least 21,000 mailed ballots, only a third of which were scanning properly, the AP reports.

The glitch will force election workers to hand-mark fresh ballots. Officials in the county, the state's sixth most populous, pledged that all the ballots will be counted eventually. "We're not going to have final election results from these mail ballots for probably several days, so that is very, very frustrating to us," said Josh Parsons, a Republican and vice chair of the county board of commissioners. In Oregon, where all registered voters receive a mailed ballot, officials in one politically pivotal county are dealing with a similar problem. About half the ballots sent to voters in Clackamas County, the state’s third most populous, included a blurry bar code that cannot be read by ballot-scanning machines.

Teams that include Democrats and Republicans are duplicating every ballot so they can be scanned. A spokesman for the Oregon secretary of state's office said the results could be delayed but will be accurate. The Lancaster County officials said the contractor, Claysburg, Pennsylvania-based NPC, sent the county test ballots with the correct ID code but used the wrong code on the ones sent to voters. NPC did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment, but an official said the company had taken "full responsibility." The county had to use a similar process during primaries last year because of a printing error by a different vendor that was later fired.

(Read more ballots stories.)

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