Ballot shortages frustrate voters in York and Lebanon Counties

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Pa. (WHTM) – This primary election had issues beyond the ones on the ballot. York and Lebanon counties both ran out of ballots at several polling locations leading to long lines and long waits for some voters.

Michael Kiesinger, a Republican voter in York County, was disappointed by the issues.

“It took me…let’s see…it took me an hour to go and vote,” Kiesinger said.

More voters showed up than the elections officials were expecting.

When they print ballots they use the turnout over the last 3 similar elections, in this case, municipal primaries, then add an extra 10% at least to that number. So Lebanon County Elections Director Michael Anderson says they weren’t expecting to run out.

“it’s just one of those things where interest was so high it just caused it to be more than what we printed,” Anderson said.

Some polling spots had voters use the machines instead while others waited for extra ballots to be sent over .

York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler said they did everything they could to fix the problem once they realized what was happening.

“Basically today we were focused on doing the triage. If the judge called in and said I’m out of ballots Republican or Democrat we did what we did to get them additional ballots,” Wheeler said.

York County Republican leader Jeff Piccola is angry about the issues.

“It disenfranchises people. You have an expectation that when you have an election day from 7 in the morning until 8 at night you have the right to show up and vote,” Piccola said.

He feels Republicans are being targeted.

“There’s something at foot here,” Piccola said. “Probably incompetence, but there could be something significant that needs to be looked at.”

Elections officials say that’s not the case. In both places they had to print extra Democratic ballots too.

“I’m a non partisan registered voter. I take this job seriously,” Anderson said. “Were mistakes made? Absolutely. Do I take credit for those mistakes? Absolutely. Would I want that to happen? Absolutely not.”

Now they’re both looking at how to prevent this in future elections.

“It’s really important that we figure out what drove this so that it doesn’t happen again, because this isn’t acceptable,” Wheeler said.

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