Several voting machines in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, have malfunctioned, leading to votes being incorrectly recorded. The issue, which emerged early on Tuesday, is affecting the race between Judge Jack Panella and Judge Victor Stabile for the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
According to the Northampton County Elections Office, the malfunction appears to occur when a voter selects a “Yes” or a “No” for one of the candidates for retention on the Superior Court. The selection is erroneously recorded for the opposing candidate on both the paper ballot and the machine.
The glitch has been limited to the retention of Superior Court Judges and is only an issue when recording the votes for voters who selected a “Yes” for one candidate and a “No” for another.
“I’m livid at the election folks and ES&S,” said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure.
The county has issued a statement acknowledging the issue and has assured the public that they are working to resolve the malfunction as quickly as possible. They wrote in a press release:
Northampton County Elections Office reports an issue with the recording of votes only for the races for retention to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, affecting Judge Jack Panella and Judge Victor P. Stabile.
It appears that when a voter selects a “Yes” or a “No” for one of the candidates for retention to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the selection is recorded on the paper ballot and on the machine for the other candidate.
The issue is limited to the retention of Superior Court Judges, and is only an issue when recording the votes for when a voter selected a “Yes” for one candidate and a “No” for another candidate.
The Elections Division of the County of Northampton notified all poll workers by text message that they are to instruct voters before the voter enters the voting booth that there is an issue with the recording of their vote for the candidates for retention to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, that the paper receipt will record their selection for retention to the Pennsylvania Superior Court one candidate to the other candidate.
The problem was first reported by Lehigh Valley News, which noted that the machines went down in several locations, including Palmer Township, Bethany Wesleyan Church in Lehigh Township, College Hill Presbyterian Church in Easton, and at the Allen Township Fire Hall. Voters at these locations were left to fill out paper ballots due to the machines being out of service.
Staff at Lehigh Valley News reported that upon discovering errors with the voting machines shortly after the opening of voting precincts, poll workers throughout the county ceased using the machines and switched to provisional ballots.
Following the initial incidents, county officials sent text messages to all polling locations to maintain communication and keep poll workers updated on the situation, as stated by the news release from the county. The incident has led to major disruptions in the voting process, with many voters and officials expressing their frustration and concerns.