LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — For the fourth time in recent years, there are problems with mail-in ballots in Lancaster County.

This time, the county sent out yellow envelopes for the general election, despite ballot instructions telling voters to put their ballots inside a white envelope.

This is the fourth time in three years that there has been a problem with mail-in ballots in the county. The past three times, the problems affected mail-in ballots for primary elections.

In May 2021, there was a ballot printing error that made it impossible to scan the ballots automatically. There were 14,000 ballots that had to be duplicated manually and rescanned, prolonging the time needed to count the votes.

“Take your ballot and put it in the yellow envelope that says official elections ballot, seal it, take that yellow envelope, put it in the white envelope that has the postal direction,” said Lancaster County Commissioner and Election Board Chair John Trescot (D.)

The vendor that had printed the ballots was fired but a year later in May 2022, there were nearly identical problems with scanning ballots.

This past spring, there was yet another problem where in a superior court race voters were instructed to choose one candidate. The problem was that voters were supposed to vote for two candidates.

In that case, the county was able to catch most of the ballots before they went out and send out replacement ballots.

So how significant is the problem this time?

Trescot said, “If you’ve done mail-in ballots before, you realize this goes in the smaller envelope. the smaller envelope goes in the bigger envelope. that’s the one I signed and date.”

“The voters of Lancaster County shouldn’t be burdened with remedying the board of elections mistake,” said Amy Fasano, Chair, of the League of Women Voters of Lancaster County. “It seems that the board of elections of Lancaster County are holding the voters of Lancaster County to a higher standard than they are holding themselves.”

She says that the ballots come with specific instructions that the courts have warned must be followed in order for the votes to count.

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