York Co. leaders confident ballot shortages won’t resurface Tuesday


YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — In a high-tech world, it was a low-tech problem. And a big one.

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“We ran out of ballots,” York County Republican Committee Chair Jeff Piccola said when asked to characterize his grievances from the May primary. Republican ballots, especially, which is why he was furious then – although he believes the explanation that that’s just because Republican turnout surged by more than Democratic turnout, in an unusually active primary overall.

“I believe it was an honest mistake, but I think it’s a mistake that could’ve been avoided,” Piccola says. And that he believes will be avoided in Tuesday’s general election, thanks to a series of changes county leaders have made, including:

  1. Print more ballots: More than 190,000 ballots, to be precise, which would have been enough for even the November 2020 contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. “Had we used that same formula for the presidential election, we would have been fine with election day ballots,” York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler (R) said.
  2. Have nearby back-up printing facilities available: Officials divided the county into eight quadrants and designated two printing facilities in each quadrant — a total of eight — in case more ballots are quickly needed despite the higher inventory this time.
  3. Proactive checks with election workers: By mid-morning, staff at the county election office will contact judges at some of the busier precincts to make sure they’re not running through ballots at an unexpected pace.
  4. Election workers trained to be proactive: “During the training session, the judges of elections were instructed to contact us when they were down to half of their ballots and then contact us again when they got down to one fourth of their ballots,” Wheeler said.

“We have to get it right,” Wheeler said. “It’s not an option not to get it right. We know voters were upset with the experience in the primary.”

By Monday, most pre-election logistics were complete.

“Machines have been delivered” to polling places, Wheeler said. “The judges of elections — they have all of their information they need for tomorrow. So right now it’s kind of the calm.”

Before less of a storm, this time, if all goes well.

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