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Lancaster County chooses two ballot vendors for 2024

Carts of mail-in ballots await processing at the County Government Center’s pre-canvassing operation on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

Lancaster County government has decided to move from one ballot printing vendor to two.

For 2024, it will contract with its existing printer, NPC, for mail-in ballots. For ballots used at polling places, however, it is going with Phoenix Graphics.

NPC will be paid $116,100, while Phoenix will be paid $168,750, with funding in both cases coming from Lancaster County’s state Election Integrity Grant. The county commissioners approved both one-year contracts on Wednesday.

The two vendors offered comparable bids for mail-in ballots, but for Election Day ballots, Phoenix came in at significantly lower cost, Elections Clerk Christa Miller told the county commissioners at their work session the day before.

Using two vendors instead of one will not complicate her office’s logistics, she assured them: Her staff already has separate processes for ordering, reviewing and signing off on in-person and mail-in ballots, so nothing significant will change in that regard.

If anything, having two vendors should allow the county to secure Election Day ballots a little sooner, she said. Right now, the two requisition processes run sequentially — mail-in ballots first, since they’re needed first — but this way, ordering the Election Day ballots can start earlier.

Phoenix is based in Rochester, N.Y. Her office is confident in Phoenix’ capabilities, Miller said: It is used by other Pennsylvania counties, including Allegheny County, the state’s second largest; and “no one has had any issues.”