Bedford County losing thousands on ballots

BEDFORD – Bedford County stands to lose thousands of dollars from a last-minute state Supreme Court ballot ruling, and they’re among the lucky ones, the commissioners said Tuesday.

Offering a rough estimate, Commissioner Chairman Kirt Morris said reprogramming voting machines could cost $3,000 or more after the high court struck Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Guzzardi from the ballot Thursday.

The ruling against Guzzardi, who reportedly failed to file a necessary document in time, came days after the Department of State certified ballots that included his name. Many counties, including Bedford and Huntingdon, risked missing key deadlines if the ballots weren’t certified quickly.

Morris said Bedford County authorities were lucky: Their ballots weren’t yet printed, and the software for voting machines wasn’t yet in the mail when the change was ordered. Only a few absentee ballots with Guzzardi’s name were sent to voters; any votes already cast for him will count as write-ins, Morris said.

While the ballots themselves were safe, voting machines had to be reprogrammed at a cost of several thousand dollars, Morris said.

That’s far less than other counties may face, especially those that already printed ballots or received machine software in the mail, he said.

State officials have indicated they won’t compensate counties for the unexpected cost, Morris said.