Lancaster sees 52K write-ins, triple the norm for an off-year election


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — An off-year election typically sees about 15,000 write-in votes. Double that? It would be a surprise.

But more than triple? That’s something Lancaster County could not have imagined.

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“I’ll be honest, we were thinking 30 to 35 thousand write-ins again. When that number hit 52,000, I think my entire office gasped,” Christa Miller, chief clerk for Lancaster County Board of Elections, said.

What drove the unprecedented surge of write-ins? Some parents are fed up with how schools are run and want a voice — with issues like COVID-19 and critical race theory popping up a lot.

Now, all of those 52,000 plus votes are being counted at the Board of Elections in Lancaster. Click, scroll, and on to the next one, names must be sorted by hand.

“My name is long and we found during the election when people wrote my name. my name fell off the line of the ballot that was scanned,” Emily Zimmerman, candidate for Warwick School Board, said.

Despite the misspellings, it is Zimmerman.

“And so we had all these truncated versions of my name. Emily Zimmerma, Emily Zimmer, Emily Zimmerme,” Zimmerman said.

An independent candidate for Warwick School Board who garnered a lot of traction, she’s received thousands of votes already, but it’ll be a while before she knows exactly how many.

“Until the 22nd, this is going to take us the complete amount of time that we need to do it. We have people working 13 hours a day on this,” Christa Miller said.

Zimmerman will have to file a petition in order to get all her votes counted, but no matter the outcome, she says:

“We have won in so many ways, even if we don’t check the boxes Lititz as a whole has won,” she added.

This intense interest in school board races isn’t unique to Lancaster County. abc27 news has been telling you about a very close race for the Central York School Board– that one remains too close to call.

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