York County begins review of election results to determine effect of double-voting issue

YORK, Pa. -- Many York County officials and voters are wondering how many people may have voted twice for a single candidate on Election Day.

The day before Election Day, county officials discovered a programming error that made it possible for people to cast two votes for one candidate, if that candidate were listed on the ballot as both a Democrat and a Republican.

Nearly a week later, a team sworn in with the director of York County's Board of Elections begins the task of reviewing those ballots that may contain double voting.

The group isn't performing a recount, but a review of Election Day ballots as each candidate is represented on paper by a number.

York County communications director Mark Walters said "the people will be going through each block, and looking for the double. The printer was able to highlight the numbers. If there are two yellow highlights in one block, that's a double vote, and it will be flagged. People will not know who they're looking for, or in what race they will be searching."

The day before Election Day,county officials discovered voting machines contained a programming error regarding candidates who were listed on the ballot twice, as both a democrat and a republican. Voting machines should allow voters to cast only one vote for a cross-filed candidate not two.

"This programming error did not do that, so you could vote for a candidate as a republican and a democrat. You'd use two of your three votes on one candidate," Walters said.

West York borough council write-in candidate Brian Wilson said "As soon as I hit my democrat name, the other name did not disappear, like it normally should. So, I went ahead and I hit it again, and that registered to vote, the second vote," Wilson said.

Some voters aren't happy that county officials didn't get word out about the possibility of double voting until Election Day itself.

Hallam borough voter Salome Johnson said "if they found it on monday afternoon, regardless if it was 4:10 pm, or 3 pm, or 5 pm, it could have been broadcast."

"We noticed that the guy coming in with the flyers, for inside the election hall, putting them up after 9 o'clock. So, there were voters who came in, before 9 o'clock, who were not informed of this information," Wilson said.

"I voted at approximately, between 9:20 and 9:30 on Election Day, there were no signs indicating this problem with the machines," Johnson said.

Johnson expressed her concerns to county commissioners, Monday morning.

"I wanted an explanation, and quite frankly, I didn't get one," Johnson said.

"The decision to do that was, the thought of releasing it before the election, would notify people that they were able to cheat," Walters said.

Without that knowledge, some voters may have double voted for candidates in eight different contested races.

The task now is to figure out just how many double votes were cast. Those numbers won't be subtracted though, the review is only a check to see if over-voting made a difference in any of those races.

"They'll be presented for the preliminary certification, and hopefully Monday, if we can finish this up by then. Then, from the point of preliminary certification, the final certification is a week from then," Walters said.

For now, it's a lesson learned.

"We need to be more thorough in our preparation, and checking the technology, re-checking it, and then re-checking the recheck, just, we have to do better," Walters said.

Even if officials finish counting early, no results will be announced until the preliminary certification on Monday, November 20th. Anyone seeking to challenge the results may file an appeal with the Court of Common Pleas by the following Monday, November 27th.