Vendor error causes Lancaster County officials to criticize Act 77

By: - May 17, 2022 1:24 pm

A “significant number” of mail-in ballots in Lancaster County were unscannable due to a vendor error, election officials said Tuesday.

When officials started the pre-canvassing process — opening and scanning mail-in ballots — at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, “it became immediately apparent that a significant number of mail ballots did not scan,” the county said in a statement. After inspecting the ballots, the county realized that NPC, the vendor who printed the ballots, printed the wrong ID code.

“The incorrect printing by the vendor was after the elections staff approved NPC’s test ballots, which had the correct ID code,” the county said. “Those ballots scanned properly during the county’s logic and accuracy testing prior to the mailing of any ballots to voters.”

Because Pennsylvania law prohibits early pre-canvassing, there was no way to notice the error before 7 a.m. on Election Day.

This isn’t the first time Lancaster County has experienced a printing error. The county noted a previous election where the county fired a vendor for a “similar problem.”

“These types of errors are unacceptable, and we hold the vendors responsible,” the county said.

But the root of the problem, county officials said, is with Act 77, a bipartisan piece of legislation that allowed for no-excuse, mail-in voting in Pennsylvania.

“Counties must run elections based on state law. This law is too complicated. It has too many short deadlines. It forces counties to use mail ballot vendors where counties used to be able to do absentee ballots internally,” the county said, adding that the law doesn’t allow for pre-canvassing before 7 a.m. on Election Day. “It causes significant delays. It causes citizens to question why it takes so long to get results.”

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