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County election board fields concerns

Published May 12. 2012 09:01AM

Three Carbon County residents aired their thoughts on voting process for the upcoming presidential election during the monthly meeting of the county election board on Thursday.

Roy and Linda Christman, as well as Edith Lukasevich, provided some insight into the operations of the elections, as well as suggestions to make the upcoming November election run smoother.

Christman, who worked as a poll worker years ago, said that he heard some problems come up in various municipality polling places during the primary election, including people being sent away for not having proper photo identification, poll workers making rude comments to voters and calling one political party "stupid," and candidates inside polling places that were not their polling place.

"In November, it's going to be a lot worse," he told the board.

He suggested that the county take action now to properly train poll workers to handle many situations, such as long lines, invalid photo identification and manners when dealing with voters.

"I urge the election board to get more poll workers so there are enough on the day of the election at every polling place, with perhaps even a backup in case one gets sick or can't make it," Christman said, adding that there should also be monitors hired to check up on polling places to make sure there are no problems.

Christman also noted that voters who do not have proper identification for the November election can still use a provisional ballot to cast their vote, even though they cannot vote using the machines.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said he agreed with Christman that the county should educate the poll workers to make sure they know proper procedure and regulations.

Lukasevich then spoke about the absentee ballot applications.

She said that during this last election, absentee ballots for people who applied for them, were sent out alphabetically, rather than in order of how the applications were received. This caused problems because some people didn't receive the ballots before the deadline to submit them.

Commissioner William O'Gurek said that the ballots were mailed out alphabetically by municipality, adding that the process did create problems.

"You're 100 percent right," he told Lukasevich. " It created problems because people who were among the first persons to submit an absentee ballot were the last to receive the ballots."

He said that the board will take all comments from residents into consideration to try to make changes that help make the election run smoothly.

Linda Christman spoke about the new photo identification requirements set by the government and how it will affect seniors who want to vote but do not have proper identification.

She suggested that the county make photo ID cards for the seniors in nursing homes who are unable to get to driver's license centers during office hours.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, said that there are problems with that because of the size of the equipment.

O'Gurek added that there are bigger problems because the county just can't create acceptable ID cards for the elections.

Ronald Sheehan, county treasurer, interjected that in a discussion a few weeks ago after the primary election, it was learned that the county ID cards cannot be used as a form of identification when voting because they do not have an expiration date on them.

Gerhard said that the expiration date requirement has been an issue and that the commissioners are concerned about the new requirements.

The board then said they would take all suggestions into consideration and work on a plan for the upcoming election.

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