The Lead

Northampton Co. officials said early morning voting machine issues a ‘clerical error’

By: - November 7, 2023 6:11 pm

A voting machine (Capital-Star photo)

After a voting machine malfunction forced voters in Northampton County to vote via emergency ballots early on Tuesday morning, county election officials said the issue was a “clerical error.”

The malfunction occurred in the Superior Court retention race where the voter has to select a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to vote for candidates to retain their seats. 

“Northampton County Elections Office reports an issue with the recording of votes only for the races for retention to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, affecting Judge Jack Panella and Judge Victor P. Stabile,”  an earlier statement from the County reads

At a press conference on Tuesday evening, Northampton County officials said they were made aware of the issue when polls opened at 7 a.m. For more than an hour, while officials worked to address the issue, voters in the affected areas cast their votes via emergency ballots.

“All of that will show up correctly tonight,” Northampton County Director of Administration Charles Dertinger said. “We have looked at this in many different ways today to make sure that it is only relegated to the one race and that the election is still accurate.” 

Election Day in Pennsylvania starts with delayed polling place openings, malfunctioning voting machines

“The important thing here is that when we get to the tabulation at the end of the night, our results have been 100% accurate and have withstood audits each time, to make everyone aware and understand what the issue was to understand that this was a clerical issue and not a tabulation issue and to give them confidence that the results that they will be seeing tonight are accurate,” Dertinger told reporters. 

Dertinger said that he doesn’t believe Tuesday’s issue has affected the County’s ability to conduct a free and fair election. 

“There are no error-free elections,” Dertinger said, “I don’t think it calls into question Northampton County’s ability to run an issue-free election, mostly because we were the first county to finish the presidential election in 2020,” Dertinger said. “We have had no issues in the others but these are elections.”

Voters are asked to report election problems and complaints online or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.