Breaking News: Snyder County

Snyder County voters are raising issues about mail-in ballots containing errors and expressing concern about the Nov. 3 election.

The Pennsylvania Department of State notified the county Election Board Friday about a Perry Township voter complaint regarding a mail-in ballot she received that was listed as a Penn Township 2 ballot, said county chairman Joe Kantz.

"Her complaint was legitimate," he said.   

A total of 154 ballots were mailed out to Perry Township voters but Kantz said he wasn't sure how many of those voters received the wrong ballot.

The issue will be resolved, he said, when the ballots are returned and all of the Penn Township 2 ballots are reviewed. Any that were filled out by Perry Township voters will be reassigned to the correct precinct and the vote listed as being cast in Penn Township will be voided.

Another issue raised by Selinsgrove resident Jacob Tomaszewski won't be as easy to correct, Kantz said.

Tomaszewski received a mail-in ballot with incorrect information regarding the deadline for returning ballots to the election office.

The misinformation could "disenfranchise hundreds (or) thousands of local voters using mail-in ballots," he said.

Mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania had been due by 8 p.m. Election Day on Nov. 3, but a state Supreme Court order in mid-September extended the deadline to allow mail-ballots postmarked by 8 p.m. Election Day and received by 5 p.m. Nov. 6 to be counted.

Kantz said the ballots with the previous deadline were ordered and sent out before the court ruling.

"We can't change it after the fact," he said, adding, "Getting your ballot in before it's supposed to (be counted) is a good thing."

Asked why the Elections Office or the county board didn't try to get the word out about the inaccurate information on the ballots, Kantz said the court ruling extending the deadline has been in the news.

"There is a responsibility of the voter to keep up on the changes. Everything is changing so rapidly, it's the fault of the courts," he said.

As of Friday, 4,600 mail-in ballots have been requested from Snyder County residents and just under 1,000 have been returned.

The county ordered a total of 6,000 mail-in ballots and put in an order for another 1,000 ballots on Friday due to the high demand.

When asked why the county didn't order more with the proper deadline information to be sent out to voters who had received the incorrect information, Kantz said it would take too long to get them out.

"We'd never get them in time," he said.

Tomaszewski isn't swayed by Kantz's argument and cited the county chairman's decision to spend several thousand dollars hiring a forensic document examiner in August to review a few primary write-in ballots that appeared to have the same handwriting for Democratic state candidate Katie Evans who won the party nomination and will face incumbent Republican Rep. David Rowe.

The handwriting expert determined there was no fraud.

It's "amazing that Joe Kantz can find taxpayer money to try to delegitimize and kick Katie Evans from the ballot through hiring handwriting experts because of three similar signatures but just can't seem to find the funds to reprint envelopes that could disenfranchise hundreds (or) thousands of local voters using mail-in ballots," Tomaszewski said.

Adam Ewig, the Democratic county commissioner, said he was not aware the ballots were sent out with outdated deadline information but there "should be some way to rectify the misinformation."

He was also concerned about the incorrect ballots being sent to voters and that he wasn't informed a complaint had been made about it.

"I'm more concerned that I'm hearing about it from you," he told The Daily Item reporter. "I was in the office all day today." 

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