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State oversight let county’s uncounted primary ballots go unchallenged

Stickers are pictured during the primary election at the Orchard Hill Church on Tuesday in Butler. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle 5/17/22

The Pennsylvania Department of State certified Butler County’s 2022 primary election results after the county sent notice that it wasn’t going to count undated mail-in ballots.

That revelation came out in documents recently filed in Commonwealth Court, where the state is suing three other counties for not counting undated ballots from the primary.

The Butler County notified the state about its intention not to count the undated ballots three weeks before the state sued Fayette, Berks and Lancaster counties for not counting their mail-in ballots, according to published reports.

The suit and Butler County’s handling of the undated ballots show some of the problems that have resulted from Act 77 of 2019 that expanded the allowable use of mail-in ballots, said Leslie Osche, chairwoman of the county commissioners.

“’This is just another example of the inconsistencies in how the department interprets Act 77 in communications and in procedures,” Osche said. “The act continues to create challenges for counties, the Department of State and most importantly undermines the election process.”

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