Voting machines in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, caused concern this week when registered Republicans and independent voters were seeing Democrat-labeled ballots on primary day.
Eyewitness News reported Tuesday that they had “received numerous calls from concerned citizens reporting issues with voting machines improperly labeling Republican ballots as Democrat.”
“Because it’s a primary, Democrats and Republicans or independent non-partisans, have a different ballot,” explained Carl Romanelli, a judge with Luzerne County Board of Elections. “When you got into the ballot marking devices, the header on all of the ballots indicates that it’s a Democratic ballot, but then when you proceed to the actual ballot itself, it is the proper ballot for the voter’s party. And when the ballot is printed, it shows that it is in fact the proper ballot.”
Bob Morgan, Director of Elections in Luzerne County, released a statement noting that the issue was caused by a “coding error.” He later emphasized that the problem was not caused by the county and that they are working with voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems to figure out what went wrong.
“Due to a coding error the Republican primary ballot in today’s Municipal Primary election contains an error in the header when displayed on the viewing screen,” Morgan said in a statement. “This error occurred during vendor programming of the device and appears on Republican ballots countywide. The ballot correctly shows Republican candidates, however, the header of the ballot says ‘Democrat.'”
“The function of the device has been thoroughly reviewed and tested and the error appears on the screen only,” he continued. “The ballot prints correctly with the Republican header and contains only Republican primary race results. Republicans also have the option to vote with a provisional ballot that will be later reviewed by the Luzerne County Elections Board should they choose not to utilize the machines.”
“We wish to assure all voters that their ballots will be correctly counted,” the director added. “To ensure proper communication of this situation a sign is being placed in each polling place by the judge of election today and posted on the County website. Elections staff and poll workers are working addressing the issue machine to machine throughout the County.”
It’s been reported that frustrated Republicans and independents confused over the incorrectly-labeled ballots left their polling place (formatting adjusted):
“Unfortunately, this morning, the machines were all shut down and people were losing their patience and leaving,” a voter from Exeter said. The confusion even led some voters to wonder whether their votes would be counted. “It’s disheartenening. When you get a person who gets elected in, did they truly get elected in? That’s the question, and no one can truly answer that,” voter Chris Harding said.
“It took us about probably five weeks. We gave a final product to Dominion,” Morgan said. “There is no evidence of any of this problem on the mail-in ballots which were produced from that file. We’re still working with Dominion to get an explanation as to how this coding error occurred. They were as surprised about it as we were.”
The director emphasized that the issue was not caused by Luzerne County:
Eyewitness News asked Morgan whether there was any possibility Luzerne County could be at fault. We asked, “In that five-week process, is there any possibility it could have been on your end and not theirs?” Morgan responded, “no.”
Dominion released a statement regarding the machine issues, acknowledging the error and assuring the public that “all ballots will be correctly counted.”
“Luzerne County’s election director has confirmed that there is a ballot screen error that is confined to the header on the viewing screen of the machine, and that all ballots are printing correctly with the Republican header and the Republican primary election races,” Dominion said. “As the county has reassured the voting public, all ballots will be correctly counted. We regret any confusion this has caused.”
Dominion has filed multiple lawsuits against individuals and outlets — including Fox News, former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — for “intentionally and falsely blaming Dominion for President Trump’s loss by rigging the election.”
Related: Dominion Sues Fox News For $1.6 Billion Over 2020 Election Coverage