(WHTM) — Voters in Lancaster County could have a chance to fix minor errors on their mail-in ballot envelopes this year. The Board of Elections will vote on the measure on Wednesday, April 12.
The board chairman said he added the measure to the agenda after hearing from people on both sides of the issue during a meeting in March. He said he wants to make sure everyone has a chance to get their vote counted.
“I think there was enough discussion this time to try and look at it again,” Board of Elections chairman John Trescot said.
Right now, fixing those minor errors — also known as ballot curing — does not happen in Lancaster County.
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“Someone mails it in and they’ve either not signed it or dated it correctly, then it’s set off to the side currently and not counted,” Trescot said.
Last November, Trescot said that included about 400 ballots.
“About 60 percent of those were from people over 65,” he said.
A new measure before the board would change that process. The county would list voters with incorrectly signed or dated ballots on its website.
“We would not directly contact anybody,” Trescot said, but he said if the measure passes, he expects political groups would use the list to reach out to voters.
Voters would have until the day before the election to fix the mistakes and Trescot hopes, not to make the same mistake again.
“The people who then come in, correct their ballots, will remember for the next vote to do their ballot correctly,” he said.
Trescot said the measure would not allow any changes to mail-in ballots that do not come in the required security envelope.
Trescot’s two fellow county commissioners, Ray D’Agostino and Joshua Parsons, both Republicans, have spoken out against ballot curing, calling it problematic and possibly unconstitutional. Both usually sit on the Board of Elections with Trescot.
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“With the previous two commissioners on the Board of Elections, it was voted not to cure ballots,” Trescot said.
This year, the two men cannot sit on the board because they are running for re-election as county commissioners. That doesn’t mean the ballot curing measure is a sure thing – the commissioners’ replacements are also Republicans, outnumbering Democrat Trescot 2-1.
“It may pass, it may not,” Trescot said.
Still, he said voters deserve a second chance.
“They’ve gone to the effort of applying for the mail-in ballot, filling it out, buying the 63 cent stamp and mailing it in to get it to us. They want their vote counted, and we should at least do something to try and help with that and respect those voters who want to have their vote counted,” he said.
The board of elections will meet Wednesday, April 12 at 11 a.m. to vote on the measure, with the May primary just over a month away. D’Agostino and Parsons did not respond to a request for comment.