The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that the instructions sent along with tens of thousands of mail-in ballots have mistakes that could lead to voter confusion.
The Inquirer’s article shows a ballot and a sheet of instructions that came with it. These instructions tell you to fill in the oval to the left of the candidate you want to vote for. The problem is that the ovals on the ballot are on the right. The instructions at the top of the actual ballot are correct.
Leading to the potential for further confusion, some of the ovals for the left column are actually closer to the names of the candidates listed in the right column.
In the above sample ballot, we shaded the area that could lead to voter confusion.
The instructions that were included also contradict the instructions listed on the ballot on what type of ink is permissible.
The instructions on how to return the ballot also reference two envelopes that are labeled differently than how they are described on the included instructions.
From the Inquirer’s article:
“Although we regret there was confusion created by this error on the supplemental instructions, we have been able to explain the issue to voters who have reached out with questions,” Lee A. Soltysiak, Montgomery County’s chief operating officer and clerk of its election board, said in a statement.
“Since the instructions are correct on the ballot itself, and many candidates do not have an oval to their left on the ballot,” he said, “we do not believe this will have an impact on how people will mark their ballots or our ability [to] accurately count their vote.”
In the above quote from the Inquirer article, Montgomery County’s Chief Operating Officer Lee A. Soltysiak acknowledges that voters have been calling asking questions due to the errors.
While the county corrected the issue on ballots that were sent once they realized the mistake, there is no effort on the county’s voter services webpage or social media accounts to educate voters on the problem.
You can read the Inquirer’s article here.