PITTSBURGH — Possibly dozens of people across Allegheny County received the wrong mail-in ballots when they opened their mailbox over the last few days.
“As folks started connecting me to friends who got the wrong ballot as well, that’s when I realized as well, it was really an issue on larger scale that it had first thought,” said Bethany Hallam, Allegheny County Councilwoman At-Large.
Multiple people have contacted Hallam saying they received the wrong mail-in ballot.
“The number one way people are realizing they got the wrong ballot is mainly because they have be canvassed by a specific candidate. Then when they get their ballot in the mail, they know they’re supposed to vote for that candidate, and they don’t see them on the ballot,” Hallam said.
A county spokesperson said they originally had 20 voters contact the office, claiming errors on their ballot.
Since then, officials confirm new complaints were made over the weekend.
“I promise you that it is a lot more than 20 because I personally have talked to at least 30, 40 folks who have gotten the wrong ballot, and that’s just people who know me and know how to get in touch with me,” Hallam said.
Hallam said they outsource the mailing of the ballots to a company and must have had an issue on a day they went out.
Carlow University political science professor William Schweers said he doesn’t want people to get the wrong idea about the ballot mix-up.
“These kinds of things are very disconcerting, but I think it’s important to understand the difference between human error and fraud,” Schweers said.
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And that people need to trust the mail-in system.
“Since the year 2000, more than 250 million have been cast by mail, and in that time and despite the enormous time and number, we have had very few problems,” Schweers said. “Based on what we have seen in the last 20 years, it remains. Safe and secure method in which got cast your vote.”
Hallam told us to make sure you check the corner of your ballot to see that the correct municipality is listed. If you do notice that you have a wrong ballot, you can go to the divisions office, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Attorney General’s Office provided the following information to inform voters about mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day:
What if I requested a mail-in ballot but now I want to vote in person?
If you receive a mail-in ballot and would prefer to vote in person, make sure you take your mail-in ballot to your polling location. Poll workers must void your mail-in ballot and you will then be allowed to vote at the polling location.
What if I received a ballot for a former resident or tenant at my address?
Mail-in ballots are barcoded for the individual whose name and address appear on the outer envelope. To report a ballot that came to you accidentally or isn’t meant for you or anyone in your household, please contact your County Election Officials.
What if my mail-in ballot comes damaged or gets wet during transit?
As long as the ballot, secrecy envelope, and outer mailing envelope are intact and envelopes are able to be safely sealed, you should proceed with voting. If your ballot is damaged beyond use, you can bring it to your polling place on Election Day to be voided and vote in person or, you can request a new mail-in ballot by contacting your County Election Officials.
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