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Delays reported in counting votes

Published November 09. 2011 05:02PM

Although workers at the 125 polling places in Schuylkill County completed making returns by 10:20 p.m Tuesday, the unofficial count was not completed until midnight because of a delay caused by the counting of 1,583 absentee ballots.

Also, a delay in the count was experienced because a number of voters cast ballots for three commissioners instead of the required two. Voters knew that three commissioners were to be elected, but on the ballot it specified they could only vote for two.

The Resolution Board, seated in the huge bus garage of Schuylkill Transportation System in Saint Clair, where the unofficial count took place, had to rule on the ballot before it was counted. Their ruling was to void the vote for the office of commissioners and allow the remainder of the ballot to be counted.

Election Director Frannie Brennan said such a mistake could not be made on the electronic machines, which alert the voter if he voted for more than was required for each office. Brennan said there were more delays because some of the absentee ballots had coffee and food stains, which made it difficult to scan the vote.

Five scanning machines were in operation from the time the vote returns were brought to the election center from the polling places. The procedure dealing with absentee ballots is as follows:

All absentee ballots had to be returned to the election bureau by 5 p.m. on Friday before the Tuesday election. The election bureau then places the ballots in packets in the precinct the voter is registered. On election night the judge of election at each polling places checks the name of the registered voter in their precinct and marks a "A" for absentee and then the ballot comes along with the votes cast at the polling places.

The ballots are removed by the workers at the election center and the ballots are placed through a scanner and the vote is recorded and added to the votes cast at the polling place.

Someone suggested the absentee ballots be counted the Monday before the election. Brennan's response was, "Suppose the voter died before the election."

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