Montco election officials say 16,000 defective ballots were mailed out

Mail-in ballots. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Mail-in ballots. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Montgomery County election officials said Saturday that around 16,000 incorrectly printed general election mail-in ballots have been sent out to residents.

“This does not meet the standard we have come to expect from NPC,” Director of Elections Dori Sawyer said in a statement, referring to the county’s ballot vendor. “Upon notification of the error, we began working with the Department of State, taking the proper steps to cancel the incorrect ballots and issue replacements. We appreciate the patience of our voters while we reissue corrected ballots.”

The defective ballots are easily identified, the county said: They are printed on only one side.

In a statement, NPC chief executive officer Chip Gallaher said a programming error caused the back page of the ballot to be omitted. Production was stopped immediately after the problem was discovered, he said.

Residents who receive the one-sided ballots should destroy them and the envelopes accompanying them. Montgomery County Voter Services will cancel the incorrectly issued ballot materials and reissue new, two-sided ballots to voters automatically. Affected residents will be notified by email, phone or mail.

Reissued ballots are expected to be mailed next week.

Come Election Day, Nov. 2, any voter who applied to vote by mail but decided not to return their mail-in ballots can still vote in person. To do that, voters must surrender their mail-in ballots and the envelopes with the voter’s declaration at their polling location. If they do not have these materials available, they can vote using provisional ballots.

Sample ballots can be viewed at the Montgomery County Voter Services website.

Residents with questions can submit a request online or call 610- 278-3280.

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