Unscanned ballots from Tuesday’s primary are still being counted at the Fayette County Election Bureau, and the process is expected to be lengthy.
“We’re still working on it,” Larry Blosser, director of the election bureau, said on Thursday. “It’s going to be a long, drawn-out deal.”
Early into Tuesday’s primary, poll workers across the county noticed that Republican ballots were being rejected by the voting machines. Officials determined many Republican ballots and some Democrat ballots were printed without the bar codes necessary to scan and tabulate the votes.
Blosser was unable to say Thursday how many ballots were affected and how many unscanned ballot were returned to the bureau to be tallied by hand. That process started early Wednesday afternoon, and he said the Pennsylvania Department of State has been notified of the county’s issues.
He said counting the faulty ballots involves manually entering their information into a touch screen voting machine typically used by voters with disabilities who cannot fill out a paper ballot. The touch screen machine then prints a ballot with a bar code.
The ballot with the bar code and the original ballot are then compared to ensure they match, Blosser said. Then, the newly created ballot is scanned into a regular voting machine and the votes are recorded.
While the process is dawn out with no estimated completion time, Commissioner Dave Lohr said there are checks and balances are in place.
“Just let it be known that we three commissioners are on top of it,” Lohr said during Thursday’s commissioners’ meeting.
He assured that each vote cast would be counted, “No doubt about it.”
Commissioner Scott Dunn said they’re investigating to determine why ballots were printed without a bar code.
“Our commitment is to make sure going forward that errors like this don’t happen again, and we can restore faith of the voters and the process,” Dunn said.
Commissioner Vince Vicites said once the incident happened on Tuesday, the commissioners focused on the problem and carried out the election to make sure it was done properly.
The county has some results from 73 of its 77 precincts posted on the election bureau’s website. However, those numbers do not include any of the faulty ballots.
Dunn said Wednesday once those are counted, results in some races could change.