Lancaster County voters are demanding answers from the U.S. Postal Service after their mail-in ballots did not arrive at the county elections office by the Election Day deadline.

The mail-in ballots, all postmarked Oct 30th in Harrisburg, arrived at the county elections office two weeks later.

Since the ballots were not received by 8 p.m. on November 7th, they were tossed out.

“Lancaster County officials said they had not yet totaled the number of affected ballots as of Friday, but they confirmed this week that roughly 100 to 150 mail-in ballots with an Oct. 30 Harrisburg postmark did not reach the county elections office until Nov. 13, six days after the deadline,” LancasterOnline reports.

LancasterOnline reports:

A regional USPS spokesperson did not answer questions regarding the delayed ballots, including why they remained undelivered for two weeks. “We are reviewing the processes involved and seeking ways to improve our service,” said USPS spokesperson Mark Lawrence in an emailed statement.


LNP | LancasterOnline spoke to four affected voters who received automated messages on or around Nov. 14 that their ballots had been rejected because they were not delivered by the Election Day cut off.

Three voters who contacted LNP | LancasterOnline said they lost their vote as a result.

Another voter, Don Stollenwerk of East Hempfield Township, said he cast a provisional ballot on Election Day because he hadn’t yet gotten a notification that his ballot was received. Stollenwerk later learned from the Department of State that his provisional ballot was counted.

Two of the four voters, Suzanne Wood of Manheim Township and Tana Reiff of East Lampeter Township, both described their multiple attempts to get an explanation from USPS employees, only to be handed off to another person or told to call a phone number that nobody picked up.

On Friday, Tom O’Brien, chair of the Democratic Committee of Lancaster County, said he had not heard about the problem, but he said he will look into it. “I will tell you that I’m going to inquire about it, probably the first thing Monday morning,” he said.

“Today we have contacted the US Postal Service, and are in the process of filing a request with US Postal inspectors to determine the cause of mail-in ballots being delayed to be returned in a timely manner to Lancaster County Board of Elections,” Tom O’Brien said in a press release this week.

“Between 100 and 150 ballots that were postmarked in Harrisburg on October 30 did not arrive at the Board of Elections until nearly a week after Election Day, and thus had to be tossed out,” he added.


Cont. from LancasterOnline:

In recent years, customers in Lancaster County and south-central Pennsylvania have complained of delivery delays. The postal service has said in the past that the delays were an effect of a staffing shortage.

But county officials have said the elections office has also been working closely with the downtown Lancaster Post Office to avoid mail-in ballots making the round trip to Harrisburg.

In recent elections, postal workers at the office have been taking mail-in ballots out of the normal processing stream and either delivering them directly to the elections office or setting them aside for county workers to pick up, county officials said.

The two facilities are literally next door to each other on West Chestnut Street.

“We go over once a day and make sure on the day of the election we get everything that’s there because they close at 5 p.m.,” said Commissioner John Trescot, the outgoing chair of the board of elections. “And they make sure when stuff comes in it doesn’t go to Harrisburg and back if it comes to that office.”

To add to the confusion, the rejection notices the four voters each received erroneously stated that their mail-in ballot was received on July 18, about 10 weeks before county elections officials sent out mail-in ballots for the November election.

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