Northampton County's Elections Commission met yesterday. The Board consists of Republicans Maudenia Hornick and Frank L DeVito, as well as Democrats Dr. Alan Brau, Daniel Lopresti and Gail W Preuninger. Maude Hornick, formerly the Commission Chair, was replaced by Preuninger. Dr. Brau remains Vice Chair.
Changes in Election Law
Richard Santee, Solicitor to the Commission, reported on new changes to the election process as a result of case law. Although the state legislature is considering changes, Santee advised they will come after the primary, if at all.
First, the voter must sign and date the declaration on a mail-in ballot envelope in order for it to count. There is no need to fill in the address because it is already stamped on the envelope.
Second, the secrecy envelope must be sealed. (This is a non-precedential decision from one judge of the Commonwealth Court).
Third, a provisional ballot declaration must be signed twice according to a three-judge non-precedential decision of the Commonwealth Court. The voter must sign both the voter declaration and the provisional envelope.
Fourth, if a voter's mail-in ballot is rejected, a three-judge panel of the Commonwealth Court has ruled his provisional ballot must be discounted. This is a non-precedential decision.
Fifth, political parties have no standing to appeal a decision by the Elections Commission to reject a vote. That right belongs solely to the voter, who is the only aggrieved party.
Sixth, the Pa Supreme Court has ruled that reasonable restrictions on the observation of the canvass process are acceptable.
There is law that if a voter makes an error as the result of bad advice from an election worker, the error will be forgiven.
Voting Registrar Amy Cozze reported there are currently 218,499 registered voters (Democrats - 98,156, Republicans - 78,526; Other - 41,817). She has received over 15,000 mail-in ballot requests thus far. There are 482 candidates on the ballot, as well as five referendum questions.
Independents may vote on referendum questions.
Two locations have changed. Hanover1 has moved back to Brith Shalom. Easton 3-3 will vote at Kirby Athletic Center.
Preneinger suggested that an instruction sheet be provided to voters who cast provisional ballots.