Wayne County deals with questionable ballots

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 11/11/20

HONESDALE, PA — On the Thursday after Election Day, Wayne County had received the majority of residents’ mail-in ballots, but not all of the envelopes had been filled out correctly. …

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Wayne County deals with questionable ballots

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HONESDALE, PA — On the Thursday after Election Day, Wayne County had received the majority of residents’ mail-in ballots, but not all of the envelopes had been filled out correctly. Bureau of Elections Director Cindy Furman had a couple dozen or so ballots that fell into “seven categories of uncertainty” and required further instruction.

Following county solicitor Wendell Kay’s recommendation, the election board—made up of commissioners Joceyln Cramer, Brian Smith and Joe Adams—rejected four ballots that had no signature certifying that the voters agreed to the “voter’s declaration” on the back of the outer envelopes. Furman had also received five ballots with totally blank outer envelopes that the board rejected for the same reasoning.

Furman presented a batch of ballots that had signatures but no other information on the outer envelope, such as the date, voter’s address and printed name. Furman said that she had enough information to verify that these were from registered voters who only voted once; following Kay’s recommendation, the board approved these ballots.

The board also approved a ballot with an “x” marked on the signature line, under Kay’s recommendation that ballots shouldn’t be discounted on the basis of “signature analysis.”

Two ballots were dropped off at the courthouse without their outer envelopes—just their inner “secrecy envelope” which have no identifying information. The board voted to not count these two ballots since Furman had no way of knowing who had cast them.

Furman received three ballots that had been sent inside of the outer envelope meant to be used in the spring primary election. Adams moved to table making a decision until the board could confirm that these voters had not also voted in person on Election Day.

Next, a married couple had mistakenly put their ballots in each other’s envelopes. Before sending them in, they realized their mistake and tried to cross off and write the correct names on the return addresses. The board once again voted to table until next week, allowing Furman time to confirm that they had not voted at the polls.

Furman said that she still had about 300 provisional ballots to go through the following Tuesday.

Each member of the board thanked Furman and her team for getting the county through one of the more chaotic election years in recent history.

“We were done counting this massive number [of mail-in ballots] faster than we did in the primaries, and with much more clarity,” Adams said.

Furman noted that the canvassing process was done in the county’s courtroom and was open to anyone from the public to come observe. She thanked the additional county employees who helped her office open the thousands of mail-in ballots received.

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