‘Mapping error’ leads to 30K Pennsylvania voters receiving incorrect ballots

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A “mapping error” led to nearly 30,000 voters in Pennsylvania receiving wrong ballots ahead of November’s election, officials said Wednesday.

The incorrect batch of ballots — 28,879, to be exact — was mailed out to residents in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, on Sept. 28 by contractor Midwest Direct, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

About 20 voters contacted county officials last week saying they’d gotten the wrong ballot, with the company then discovering that a “ballot image mapping error” led to the mistaken dispatch.

The county said the error “resulted in individual voter’s information being matched to the ballot for the next voter in that batch.”

New ballots — marked “corrected ballot” on the envelope — will be sent and voters can expect to receive them next week, the county told the Post-Gazette. The correct ballots will also include a letter explaining the snafu and instructing the voter to destroy the old ballot if they still have it.

It’s believed that some of the constituents involved have already voted using the incorrect ballot, though the county is unsure on exactly how many.

County officials reiterated that only one ballot per voter would be counted and that the erroneous ones would be located, set aside and then reviewed as part of the Return Board process after the Nov. 3 election.

“This was a failure on behalf of our contractor that impacts too many of our voters,” said county elections manager David Voye at a virtual press conference Wednesday. “I apologize for it and commit to you that I will do everything in my power to ensure that we are not plagued by any other such issues.”

Midwest Direct was set to send another 19,564 ballots when the error was reported. That second batch has been destroyed and will be reprinted, the county said.

The company also plans to put in place safeguards, according to a letter from Midwest Direct President Sean Gebbie to county officials on Tuesday.

“Moving forward, a printout of the first and last 10 records will be generated for every file showing which images are being used,” Gebbie wrote. “That printout will be compared to the actual printed ballots before inserting to verify correct images have been pulled. We will have a second data processer review the files to create a two-person check.”

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