Montgomery County residents who receive a ballot printed on only one side should toss it out. New two-sided ballots will be mailed next week.
Montgomery County Election Officials recently learned that approximately 16,000 mail-in ballots for the general election in November were printed incorrectly by its ballot vendor, NPC, and mailed to residents. Those ballots are easily identified as they were only printed on one side.
“Once the error was recognized, we immediately stopped production and began to investigate. Our investigation determined that a programming error caused the back page of the ballot to be omitted,” CEO of NPC, Chip Gallagher, said. “We sincerely regret that this happened and are working with the county and state to ensure impacted voters receive a new ballot.”
Any Montgomery County voter who originally applied to vote by mail but chooses not to return their mail-in ballot can vote in person. They can do so by surrendering their ballot and the envelope with the Voter’s Declaration at their polling location. If those ballot materials are not presented, the voter can vote using a provisional ballot.
“Upon notification of the error, we began working with the Department of State, taking the proper steps to cancel the incorrect ballots and issue replacements. We appreciate the patience of our voters while we re-issue corrected ballots,” said Dori Sawyer, county director of elections. “This does not meet the standard we have come to expect from NPC.”
Montgomery County Officials advise voters who receive a one-sided ballot in the mail to destroy the ballot and envelopes. Montgomery County Voter Services will cancel the incorrectly issued ballot materials and re-issue new, two-sided ballots automatically. Voters will be notified either by email, mail, or phone. Re-issued ballots are expected to be mailed next week.
Some Montgomery County elected officials spoke out on the matter.
“The latest problem created by Montgomery County’s Board of Elections is one more example of sloppy and irresponsible execution to prepare the voters for the November 2nd election. It is hard to imagine how anyone in the Montco Board of Elections would release incomplete information without first checking to ensure the completeness of the ballots,” State Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery/Bucks/Berks) said. “Where is the individual responsibility? Where is the leadership providing the necessary oversight? Where is the recognition by the chair or vice-chair of the commissioners recognizing and accepting the ultimate responsibility?
“Many voters remain very wary of the mail-in voting systems in their county, and irresponsible and sloppy unprofessional work like this only further damages the perceptions that mail-in voting is safe and secure,” Mensch said.
Commissioners Vice Chairman Ken Lawrence said, “This should not have happened, and it’s unacceptable. Quality control has to be paramount to ensure voters receive correct ballots.”
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.