Five months into an election year that's been a model of confusion because of redistricting and a controversial special election, a recent state Supreme Court decision has thrown another twist at York County voters.
For the May 20 primary, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Guzzardi's name will appear on the ballot. But he won't really be on the ballot.
Though Gov. Tom Corbett's primary challenger's name will be listed on the electronic screen representing the ballot, notes taped to York County's hundreds of voting machines will explain to voters that's only because the county didn't have time enough to program his name out of voting machines after the Supreme Court's May 1 decision that Guzzardi's name should be tossed from the list.
"We didn't feel, logistically, it was enough time," said Nikki Suchanic, director of York County Department of Elections and Voter Registration. "It takes two weeks alone to deliver the voting machines, and we would have to erase the cartridges and reprogram, open up 600 voting machines and perform testing again."
The snag doesn't mean York County will be in defiance of the court order, it just means some extra work, she said.
People who want to vote for Guzzardi should write in his name, Suchanic said.
However, votes cast for him on the touch screen ballot will be counted as write-ins, she said.
"It's not the worst election year ever," she said. "I think sometimes the public just doesn't realize what it takes for us to get ready for an election."
Department of State Press Secretary Ron Ruman said York isn't the only county unable to remove Guzzardi's name from the ballot. It's up to counties to report their vote totals however they wish, he said.
"We recognize this is a late-in-the-game decision," he said. "The court ruled when the court ruled."
Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court's ruling that Guzzardi could stay on the ballot despite having failed to file a statement of financial interests on time.
York County Commissioners discussed the situation during their Wednesday meeting, with solicitor Mike Flannelly calling the ballot change "uncharted territory."
President Commissioner Steve Chronister said Guzzardi has gotten more name recognition for being booted from the ballot than he did when he was a candidate appearing on it.
— Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.