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Instructions on Cumberland County absentee ballots cause confusion

CARLISLE, Pa. — People who plan on voting with an absentee ballot in Cumberland County might have noticed some confusion about what color ink to use. The instructions on the ballot say one thing, while the insert that comes with the ballot say another. The Elections Bureau noticed the mistake after FOX 43 brought it to their attention.

Spelled out in black ink, the absentee ballots in Cumberland County say to use blue or black ink when filling out the form. But the separate insert with instructions on it clearly say, use a medium point black pen.

“What happened was the old instructions got mixed with the new instructions that were sent out with the absentee ballots,” Samantha Krepps, Communications Director for Cumberland County, said.

Though an honest mistake, the mix up causing confusion for some residents.

“That is kind of like a set back though especially if you’re about to go put your vote in and then the next think you know you have to use black ink for it to matter so they need to get their instructions straight the first time,” Favian Padilla, a Cumberland County resident, said.

“I would think it would be a concern because it’s two different ways,” Dan Carl, another Cumberland County resident, said. “So it should just be one way, and then I know my vote would be counted. Otherwise they may think that it didn’t count.”

The good news is it will, regardless of what color pen you use.

“You can use blue or black,” Krepps said. “Blue or black ink is the preferred ink for our scanners, however, any color will work.”

All you have to do is make sure you fill the circle in completely. Now a new set of instructions are being sent with absentee ballots.

“You wouldn’t think things would get confusing,” Carl said. “It should be more simple to vote. So I don’t understand why there would be a mixup.”

“The instructions should be correct the first time, plain and simple,” Padilla said. “That’s it.”

If you want an absentee ballot, you have until Tuesday to pick one up. It must be mailed in or dropped off at the Elections Bureau  by 5 p.m. Friday.