Election board hears challenge complaint
HONESDALE, PA — Republican Committee member Robert Timozek said he had repeatedly fielded residents’ questions about the legal residence of two voters who having been voting at the District One polling place in Damascus for several years. Timozek followed up on Election Day by challenging the unnamed voters, but he didn’t do it until after they had voted, which disqualified his challenge.
Joined by township Supervisor Joseph Canfield, Timozek came before the Wayne County Board of Elections on November 17 seeking their intervention and a subpoena to find information on their legal residence.
Wayne County Bureau of Elections Director Cindy Furman prefaced the discussion, saying that Canfield had called her on Election Day, reporting that the voters had come to vote and had been challenged. She said she had not spoken to Timozek.
County treasurer Brian Field was sitting in place of Commissioner Jonathan Fritz, who was not able to serve since he had been on the ballot. Field asked if the challenge was made before they voted.
Furman said the challenge should have been made prior to their voting, but was not.
“We can’t change it,” he replied and Furman concurred.
Commissioner Wendell Kay, who chairs the election board, said Wayne County’s solicitor Lee Krause had confirmed that a challenge should have been made prior to voting, but added that he would like to hear Canfield and Timozek.
Timozek said the polls were crowded at the time, that the voters were already being escorted to the voting booth, and he had not wanted to create an incident with so many people waiting.
Commissioner Brian Smith inquired about Timozek’s concern that there had been “suspicion of multiple voting in past.”
“They are never at home during the week,” Timozek said.
Canfield reported that all sources said the pair were New York City residents, and after the recent election he had inquired with the PA State Police, who told him he needed to get a subpoena from the election board to get the information he sought.
Krause said the election board had no subpoena power, and they would have to go to court to seek one.
Canfield said he spent $30 researching the voters on the Internet and found multiple addresses in NYC, dating from 1986, with a prior Damascus address.
Timozek, a prior city resident, said he was familiar with one of the addresses, in an area that is all small apartment units. Six other people also shared that address and he was concerned that the address was being sold to others for voting purposes.
“Can’t they be subletting or renting to students?” Kay asked.
Canfield was not at the polls during the incident, but recalled talking to the voters in 2011, when one commented that they needed “to get back to the city,” and their car had NY license plates. “Five years later, they still had NYS plates,” he said.
Furman said she had contacted the PA Department of State and was later told that their query to NY had found no voter registration in NY and no evidence of multiple voting. “They’re only registered in Wayne,” she said.
She said the process for registering is to either provide a PA driver’s license or online, to provide a name and mailing address and the last four digits of the applicant’s social security number. “If mail delivery is made, they’re registered,” she said.
Smith said the problem might be the state’s online registration process. “Perhaps change is needed at that level,” he said.
“If you think there was fraud, you have to go to law enforcement,” Krause told the two men.
Someone filing a voter challenge in PA must pay a $10 fee. That money is retained if the challenge is rejected or returned if it is upheld. Furman returned Canfield’s $10 at the end of the session, since the challenge could not be officially considered by the election board.