(The Center Square) – At least two counties in Pennsylvania ran out of ballots during Tuesday’s primary election.
Multiple media reports said officials in Delaware and York counties ran out at some polling places and offered voters provisional ballots or the use of a ballot-marking machine until election workers printed more.
Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid told reporters Tuesday night that it’s up to county election officials to estimate the amount of ballots needed based on prior turn out.
“We’re going to look into what the issues were at this point,” she said. “Our after-action review will help us to identify what happened with those ballot shortages.”
Luzerne County also noticed some of its paper ballots were mislabeled as Democrat, despite showing a slate of Republican candidates. The Department of State said poll workers ensured these ballots were properly cast and counted.
More than 1.9 million ballots have been counted, so far, according to the department. Turnout for primaries in 2017 and 2019 ranged from 1.4 million to 1.6 million voters, Degraffenreid said.
She cautioned its “too soon to tell” what this year’s turnout will be, but noted that residents returned more than 550,000 mail-in ballots alone. In 2019, before the General Assembly adopted no-excuse vote by mail, the state collected fewer than 40,000 absentee ballots.
It will likely take until early next week to finalize results, the department said. Certified results from counties are due to the state by June 7.
Still, the department declared the day “successful” with “few issues.”
House Republicans challenged this notion, pointing to the ballot shortages – which were alleged to occur only with Republican voters – as yet another symptom of the flaws with the state’s existing election laws.
In a joint statement, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, and State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove, R-York, said the issues underscored the “dire need” for “significant reform focused on accountability, security, and training.”
“Pennsylvanians deserve to show up to their polling place trusting in the election process,” the lawmakers said. “They deserve the ability to leave their polling place knowing that their vote was cast accurately. As we work toward a legislative solution, we seek to make our election system better for those conducting elections and those participating in them.”
Grove’s committee concluded 10 hearings last month that investigated administrative issues that occurred during the November general election. He released a report last week outlining a litany of reforms to the state’s election laws.
Democrats believe the meetings wasted taxpayer dollars and served as nothing more than a publicity stunt to relitigate the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.
Degraffenreid said Tuesday she’s unsure if the ballot shortages impacted just one party.
“I think it’s important that we have time after tonight to really talk to the counties and find out truly what happened,” she said.
Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.