Pundits and politicians often sing the praises of vote-by-mail. However, the obvious problems with the system are increasingly difficult to ignore.
Pennsylvania’s election results will be delayed because of printing errors on thousands of ballots cast in Tuesday’s primary, the Washington Examiner reported. At least 21,000 ballots from Lancaster County were affected, with one-third deemed unreadable.
Lancaster is the sixth most populous county in the Keystone State. Results from the gubernatorial and Senate primaries could be considerably delayed due to the glitch, a fact that troubled Josh Parsons, who serves as vice-chairman of the county board of commissioners.
“Citizens deserve to have accurate results from elections, and they deserve to have them on election night, not days later, “Parsons, a Republican, told reporters. “But because of this, we’re not going to have final election results from these mail ballots for probably several days, so that is very, very frustrating to us.”
Untangling this mess began Wednesday in an arduous process. Election workers manually handled the affected ballots, with one worker reading the vote aloud, a second recording it on a new blank ballot, and a third will observe the whole process.
The problem is due to a printing error from NPC, a Pennsylvania-based vendor. The codes printed on the ballots sent to voters were incorrect, meaning they could not be scanned in, though the ones at polling places were properly encoded.
Notably, NPC was the replacement vendor for another company that botched the process in a similar way in the same county’s primary last year. Some officials said this mishap underscored the problem with a 2019 law requiring that election workers wait until Election Day to process mail-in ballots.
Mistakes happen, but that’s precisely the reason that election procedures need to be tightened up. The old-fashioned way of casting a ballot at a polling place on the day of the election would solve many of the problems that have recently arisen.