Election board reviews ’19 issues; looks ahead to ’20 elections

The Susquehanna County Board of Elections held a discussion of 2019 events and how to proceed moving forward in 2020.

Donna Cosmello, chair of the Susquehanna County Chapter of the Republican Party, offered that she would like to see more education on the use of the voting machine.

She noted that there were 369 ballots thrown out in the commissioners’ race due to over-votes; and also claimed that at some polling locations, the machines were not even turned on by the judge of elections.

Rick Ainey, chair of the Susquehanna County Democratic Party said it was a “bipartisan concern.”

He suggested that people be in place in the county to help troubleshoot some of the issues. “Three hundred votes – who knows what that would have done,” he said.

Ainey also said write-ins were another issue. “It took months to figure out who won,” he said, and asked that local boards complete tally sheets as had been done in the past.

Commissioner Alan Hall said the judges of election undergo intensive training prior to an election. “Some, frankly, refuse to do what they are supposed to do,” he said.

At the meeting, it was reported that some Springville Township voters were told to come back because the registration pad was not working when they arrived to vote.

Hall said the voter roll books could have been used as a back-up to check in those voters that were turned away.

In this year’s elections, all the voting in Susquehanna County will be done on machines.

The board, along with members of the audience, talked about various issues and ways to resolve those before the April 28 Primary.

Hall noted that many of the poll workers in the county are aging, and said there was a push last year to have high school students – largely seniors – to work the polls. He said the county could look to expand that effort this year.

He also said that there are a number of changes going into effect this year, including changes to dates and timing for absentee ballots, etc.

In order to get that information out, the county plans to send out postcards to active voters with the information.

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