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United Way of Lancaster County


Election Board to consider ‘ballot curing’ at Wednesday meeting

In this file photo, trays of mail-in ballots await processing at the Lancaster County Government Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

A proposal to allow voters who submit mail ballots with minor clerical mistakes to correct them is on the agenda for the Lancaster County Board of Elections meeting on Wednesday.

The practice, known as “ballot curing,” reduces the chances of ballots being tossed out due to a technicality, such as forgetting to sign or date the outer envelope.

At present, Pennsylvania has no uniform standards for ballot curing. In March, a Commonwealth Court judge dismissed a lawsuit on the matter brought by the Republican National Committee, saying the court did not have jurisdiction and it was a county matter. Analysts said the ruling will likely result in a flood of county-level lawsuits.

In Lancaster County, the Election Board discussed ballot curing last month. The board normally comprises the three county commissioners, but because Republicans Ray D’Agostino and Josh Parsons are running for re-election, their places have been taken by former county solicitor Christina Hausner and county Judge Jeffery Wright, both Republicans. The third member is John Trescot, an appointed Democrat who will leave office at the end of the year.

As reported by LNP and ABC 27, D’Agostino and Parsons both vehemently oppose ballot curing, calling it unfair and potentially unconstitutional. Hausner and Wright have not publicly stated a position.

About 400 ballots went uncounted last November because their envelopes were unsigned, undated or both, Trescot told ABC 27. The majority were from voters over age 65.

Trescot told LNP that allowing ballot curing could help educate voters, even if it’s reversed once Parsons and D’Agostino join the board.

The text of a proposed resolution to allow limited ballot curing in Lancaster County elections. (Source: Lancaster County)

The proposed resolution would authorize the county Election Office to post a list online of voters whose mail ballots have mistakes on the “voter declaration” on the outside envelope, and to allow voters to correct them. The office would not contact voters directly, and voters would not be able to correct other errors.

The board’s meeting begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday on the seventh floor of the County Government Center, 150 N. Queen St., Lancaster.

(Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article included incorrect text for Trescot’s proposed resolution.)