Election commission says voting should go smoothly

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By Chris Sardelli

As thousands of Lancaster County residents get ready to vote Tuesday, the Lancaster County Voter Registration and Election Commission is taking measures to make sure the day goes smoothly.

Rick Crimminger, chairman of the local commission, said that while there were some glitches with machines in the election two years ago, he expects this election to go as smoothly as the primaries went earlier this year.

He said there will be 160 iVotronic touch-screen voting machines for voters to use in the 29 precincts throughout the county. There will be one machine for every 250 voters registered in a precinct.

Crimminger said the commission is prepared in case something goes wrong with the electronic machines.

"We do have emergency backup ballots," Crimminger said. "But the only way paper ballots can be issued by state law is if all machines break down in a precinct."

Other instances in which these provisional ballots will be issued are if a voter's ID does not match their registration information or if address information is incorrect.

Crimminger said any voter without an ID can use a provisional ballot, but they then must provide their ID before a provisional hearing after the election.

Crimminger said there were more than 44,602 registered voters in the county as of Oct. 12.

Of those, only 39,086 are active voters, which means they have voted within the last two presidential elections. Included in that number are 4,400 people who have either registered for or have already cast an absentee ballot.

He expects this year's turnout to be higher than previous elections, based on the number of people who have cast absentee ballots.

The lines to cast absentee ballots have stretched out of the office and along the hallway at the Lancaster County Administration building, with people waiting over two hours to vote.

"In a typical presidential election, we see about 45 percent voter turnout, but this year, I'm thinking we're going to have between 60 and 70 percent of the total voters," Crimminger said.

The State Election Commission has more than 2.5 million registered voters, and the commission has issued over 190,000 absentee ballots, according to the Associated Press.

This breaks the 2004 state record of 161,000 absentee ballots.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or a (803) 416-8416