Erie County Board of Elections continues to count write-in votes

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The Erie County Board of Elections continues to count write-in votes for the 2021 Primary Election.

Although the unofficial results were posted on the county website yesterday, the board of elections says another update will occur this afternoon or Tuesday.

The Elections Department reports it continues to adjudicate 5,000 write-ins, over votes and extraneously marked ballots in Borough and Township races. Erie, like many counties in Pennsylvania, is wading through an extremely large number of write-in votes, which must be finished to finalize unofficial results.

Voters submitted 14,818 write-in votes at the polls and via mail in ballot. The board of elections explains that local primaries traditionally feature high numbers of write-ins, due in part to vacant positions on the ballots in municipalities and the election of Judges and Inspectors of Election.

“We believe it’s time for elections officials to provide a reality check, especially to our legislators and to Governor Wolf. We need a voting process in Pennsylvania that works. We have seen a growing concern for the integrity and accuracy of our elections from Democrats and Republicans alike. The PA Department of State mandated this paper based voting system, back in 2018 in response to those concerns. Unfortunately, however, this type of system comes with a cost, especially in terms of efficiency. We understand the frustration over not having the election results right after the polls close. Under the current paper voting process and the Pennsylvania Election Code however, that is not remotely possible. Counting paper ballots takes time, and a lot of it. Hand-marked ballots, no matter how they are received, must often be deciphered on a case-by-case basis in order to determine voter intent. Meanwhile, we have many thousands of mail-in ballots that we cannot open until Election Day, because the election code does not allow it. In Erie and elsewhere throughout Pennsylvania, we have invested more money into resources geared toward handling this demand, and it is still not enough. There is not a single third class county like Erie or larger, in fact, that has completed their Election Day count results. All counties are counting large numbers of write-in votes; I know for instance, Lancaster has 33,500, Luzerne 13,000 and Indiana 8,000”

Election Board Chairwoman Mary Rennie

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