HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - A ballot printing error will likely cost Erie County thousands of dollars to reprint over 100,000 new primary ballots. 

Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth, Leigh Chapman calls the error a result of miscommunication, a truncated timeline, a court proceeding, and premature printing. 

In Pennsylvania, hopeful candidates for the House have to receive 300 signatures just to get on the ballot. For State Senate candidates, 500 signatures are required. 

Usually, there is a three-week period for candidates to go door-to-door to obtain the necessary signatures. However, that window was cut in half because of this year’s delayed redistricting process. 

The short window leaves both candidates and election officials scrambling to get everything in order for the May 17 primary election. 

Chapman says the ballot printing issue stems from a challenge to a candidate’s signatures in Erie County, which resulted in court action.  

“In Erie County, there was actually a challenge to a candidate's signatures and so there was a court action,” said Chapman.  

The order in which candidates’ names appear on a ballot is based off a lottery. Chapman tells ErieNewsNow that the state warned Erie County about a potential updated or supplemental ballot lottery because of the court action, but the ballots were still printed. 

“In any election, we have a ballot lottery that determines the position of candidates on a ballot. Because of this court action, there was a supplemental ballot lottery and the county of Erie actually printed the ballots before that supplemental ballot lottery was completed,” said Chapman. “And we communicated to the county that their ballot might change based on the outcome of the court decision,” said Chapman. 

The candidate was initially rejected, but then the court ruled the candidate could be on the ballot, ultimately impacting the order of the names on the ballot 

“We actually ended up rejecting the signatures for that particular candidate. There was a court challenge, and the court actually put the candidate on the ballot, but that happened after the first ballot lottery, so there had to be a supplemental ballot lottery,” said Chapman. “And once that happened, we communicated that with the county, that there would be a reordering of the names. But clearly there was a miscommunication and the county prematurely printed ballots before that was finalized,” added Chapman.  

Chapman says it’s her understanding the ballots will cost around $50,000 to reprint and that it’s a cost the county will have to pay. 

"It's my understanding, just speaking with staff, it was around $50,000 as far as having to reprint those ballots. And that's a cost that the county would have to pay," said Chapman.