York County Board of Elections addresses voting problems

YORK, Pa. - Voters in York County used the new voting machines that provide a paper record. The transition was not so seamless.

Voters saw a number of issues. The PA GOP threatened to sue the County over them, claiming they mishandled ballots. But that is no longer happening now that the issues are being fixed.

The blue bags at the York County Board of Elections hold every paper ballot cast in York County. The black bag, though, is holding about 400 ballots from a Fairview Township polling place that were scanned later because the lines were too long.

"They didn't realize that in the back of the machine you could put your ballot into a secure area where they would be scanned by the poll workers at a later time when the lines weren't as long," Susan Byrnes, President of the York County Commissioners, said.

This  sparked outrage by the PA GOP who threatened a lawsuit calling for the security and counting of ballots. But the problems didn't stop there for some voters. There were complaints of lack of privacy, confusion with scanners, and long wait times.

"The lines got held up because we had two ballots so it took twice as long," Byrnes said. "And let's face it, it's a new process so it took people a while to get the new process."

Ron Smith secured a York County Commissioner seat. Soon, the problem will fall on his plate.

"If it is the equipment and the timing, then obviously we need to provide more machines, and the problem is, nobody is saying how many machines," Smith said. "Are we talking another one machine? Are we talking ten machines? If we have to order more equipment, what's the timeframe for delivery?"

Still, the County said many voters had a positive experience, and every vote was counted properly. They are calling this a learning process for the bigger elections around the corner.

"Ya know, we listened to our voters," Byrnes said. "Everybody's vote is very important, and we want the privacy for them, we want them to be safe, so we're going to work through this."

The cost of each voting machine is about $4,900. The County plans to buy more for the busier polling places for the primaries, but no word on how many. The County said the issues will all be fixed by the special election in January.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.