Officials set up help desk for overseas voters blocked from accessing absentee ballots

The Pennsylvania Department of State says it was increased cyber security measures that inadvertently caused the error.

Paul Kurtz
October 06, 2018 - 10:00 pm
Nov 8, 2016; Frendale, MI, USA; Jenna Townsend, 32, holds her daughter Isla Townsend, 1, as she fills her ballot during the 2016 United States presidential elections at Renaissance Vineyard Church.

Salwan Georges/Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORK

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania election officials have been notifying voters abroad about an issue that has prevented them from accessing absentee ballots. A Philadelphia-based government watchdog group is also not happy.  

The Pennsylvania Department of State says it was increased cyber security measures that inadvertently caused error pages to pop up when overseas voters tried to log in and download their absentee ballots.  

David Thornburgh, the president and CEO of Philadelphia-based government watchdog group Committee of Seventy, says this is not the time to be dealing with digital dead-ends.

"It's disturbing and frustrating to see a basic process like this not work as it should and cause overseas voters an extra level of aggravation to try to make their voice heard this Nov. 6," Thornburgh said.

About 4,000 overseas voters are being told they can call a Department of State Help Line to get their ballots by email.   

"It's just an unfortunate bump in the road in what is a very, very critical election," Thornburgh added. 

Oct. 30 is the deadline for applying for absentee ballots.