Montco official eyes novel approach to cure minor mistakes on mail-in-ballots

Christie Ileto Image
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Montco official eyes approach to cure some mistakes on mail-in-ballots
Montco official eyes novel approach to cure minor mistakes on mail-in-ballots

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As a federal appeals court in Center City Philadelphia heard arguments Tuesday in a critical lawsuit that could impact Pennsylvanians who vote by mail, a Montgomery County official is working on a novel approach to make sure voters' mail-in-ballots aren't tossed for simple errors.

"There are about 2,000 ballots that we would estimate will have mistakes," said Neil Makhija.

And that's just for Montgomery County.

Makhija, an election law professor and newly elected county commissioner, says there are anything from wrong dates, no dates, or unsigned ballots that can trigger disqualification.

SEE ALSO: US appeals court to decide if Pennsylvania mail-in ballots with wrong date still count

"These are minor technicalities," he said. "Instead of having to drive up to 45 minutes or more to Norristown to the county bureau of elections, if you make a minor technical mistake, we want to make sure that we notify you, and even come to your house to so that your vote gets counted."

It's a novel approach to cure ballots with minor mistakes that election experts say doesn't really exist in this swing state.

"Because when we did the notification -- the mail, the email, the phone -- we only corrected about 10% of those 2,000 ballots. So what we're focused on now is the 90% of ballots that would otherwise be thrown out. We're going to give people a chance to correct those by showing up to their door, just like Amazon, Uber," he said.

"What are other counties doing?" asked Action News' Christie Ileto.

"They're not doing this," said Makhija. "There are some counties that if you made a mistake, you won't even know until after the election that your vote wasn't even counted."

"Montgomery County would be the only county doing this in our area?" Ileto asked.

"What we hope is that we would be the best most accessible county for voter access," said Makhija.

Makhija says they still have to work out the logistics, but are looking at the thousands of poll workers in the county who already volunteer on Election Day to help be part of this mobile unit.

The goal is to have everything worked out by the summer.