Voters in Palmyra Borough ran into a problem casting their ballots in a Primary Election council race Tuesday morning. Three candidates – Scott Mazzocca, Carissa Mellinger, and Ralph Watts – are seeking the Republican nomination to two seats carrying two-year terms, but the electronic voting machines in the borough’s three precincts only allowed voters to select one candidate. The programming malfunction was caused by human error and was noticed about an hour after the polls had opened at 7 a.m. and roughly 30 ballots had been cast, said county administrator Jamie Wolgemuth, who sits on the Lebanon County Board of Elections. Once the problem was detected, poll workers began giving voters an emergency ballot to select a second candidate, Wolgemuth said.
An effort is also being made to contact those voters who already cast ballots so that they can return to select a second candidate, he said. The machines could be re-programmed while the election is underway but that would risk losing all prior votes. “That is risky and disruptive, so we’ve decided to go this route,” Wolgemuth said.
Prior to each election all of the county’s i-Votronic voting machines are programmed by a representative of the manufacturer, Election System & Software, and are checked for accuracy by Director Lori Oliver and her staff in the county Voter Registration Office, Wolgemuth said. “It was programmed by ES & S with information from the county and returned to us for proofing,” he said.