R.F. Shoup of Elections USA, Quakertown, right, examines a voting results report with Anne Norton, Berks County elections operations/systems manager, during voting machine logic and accuracy testing at the county’s south campus warehouse in Mohnton on Oct. 3. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)
Editor’s note: The county called to update information for this story after it was published online.
Berks County election officials say all of its voting machines were working correctly when voters cast their ballots on Election Day and they have received no formal petition to perform a manual recount of the results.
That statement comes after a group made claims on social media that the machines were changing votes in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial contest — shifting them from Republican Doug Mastriano to Democrat Josh Shapiro — and that the county is preparing to conduct a manual recount.
The post makes these allegations without providing evidence.
The post seems to have originated from the private Facebook page of a group called the Southeastern PA Freedom Fighters. However, the post began to generate conversation when the Berks County Republican Committee shared it Friday morning across its various social media platforms.
The post asks volunteers to help with the recount, claiming they need three residents from each precinct to carry out the task. It also states that it will cost $50 to perform the recount at each precinct.
The post says applications to volunteer must be submitted by Monday. For more information, people are instructed to email the Greenwich GOP or call William Mulgrew.
Attempts to reach Mulgrew were unsuccessful.
Stephanie Weaver, the public relations officer for the county, said Friday that the information shared in the post is not accurate.
“There were no malfunctions, no vote switching and no recount ordered at this time,” she said.
Weaver acknowledged the elections office received several claims on Election Day regarding malfunctioning voting machines in a handful of precincts. She said election officials immediately sent their machine technicians to those precincts and they confirmed that all the machines were working correctly.
About a month before Election Day, each of the nearly 800 voting machines the county deployed to its 202 precincts underwent thorough testing to ensure they would be running properly when they were put into service.
County officials invited members of the media to check out the process as it began, saying they wanted to provide as much transparency as possible about how the machines are readied for action.
The testing process involved many steps and a team of people.
After the machines are successfully tested, they are sealed and considered ready to be delivered. The machines then are moved to polling locations by staff from the county facilities department starting two weeks before the election.
Weaver said Friday that the county had not yet received a formal challenge of the results.
Shapiro beat Mastriano in Berks by about 6,500 votes, according to complete but unofficial results posted on the county elections department website. Shapiro earned 78,740 votes while Mastriano earned 72,179.