A problem with the calibration of electronic voting machines in Lebanon County has caused 5-6 machines to represent straight Republican tickets as straight Democratic tickets, said Michael Anderson, director of the Lebanon County Bureau of Elections.
In these cases, the voter attempted to vote for the full Republican ticket, but noticed in the review screen that the vote was going to a straight Democratic ticket instead, Anderson said. They alerted their poll workers, who alerted the Bureau of Elections.
The Bureau of Elections has a software expert who was able to solve the problem in each case, he said. It involves a calibration issue regarding the machine. The Republican and Democratic straight tickets appear next to each other on the ballot.
In each case, the problem was resolved and the voter was able to successfully change their ballot to the desired ticket, Anderson said. He was not aware of anyone actually casting an incorrect ballot. He was not sure whether there were any instances of a straight Democratic ticket appearing as a straight Republican ticket.
The polling locations where the error occurred include Myerstown Community Library and locations in Annville Township and East Hanover, he said.
Cecelia McNaughton, judge of elections for Lebanon’s 1st Ward West, confirmed one similar incident at the Lebanon Municipal Building. She said a man voting straight Republican ticket at 7:30 a.m. alerted her that the machine showed the Democratic slate of candidates. She cancelled the vote and the man completed his voting on another machine correctly. After notifying voter registration, within minutes a technician arrived and correctly recalibrated the machine.
McNaughton said the machine has been functioning fine ever since.
Swatara Township resident Fred Stafford said he voted at about 8:30 a.m. at the Swatara municipal building and attempted to cast a ballot for the Republican party ticket, but the review screen showed the Democratic ticket instead. He alerted his poll workers, who instructed him how to cancel the ballot. He tried several more times to get the Republican ticket without success, he said. The poll worker then attempted it 2-3 times before ultimately getting the Republican ticket to work, he said.
Concerns about the error at polling locations have also been the subject of discussion on the Facebook pages of several Lebanon County residents.
All voters are encouraged to review their ballot before casting it, and to alert their poll worker or the Bureau of Elections if there are any problems, Anderson said.