Saturday, November 18, 2006

Control of state House up in air
Chester Co. absentee ballots key in 2 races
Saturday, November 18, 2006By Tracie Mauriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
WEST CHESTER, Pa. -- Control of the state House will remain up in the air for at least another week, and maybe two.

Elections officials in Chester County have yet to count 549 absentee ballots in two key House races that are too close to call.

They say they won't start counting until they have determined the eligibility of 88 voters who cast provisional ballots because their names could not be found on registration lists on Election Day.

So far, Republicans lead in both races, and if those results hold, the GOP would have a 102-101 majority in the coming session...

Provisional ballots may hold key in Chesco
Philadelphia Daily News

November 22, 2006

I would absolutely expect this to go to the Supreme Court At the Chester County Department of Voter Services, uncounted ballots will decide the race for the 156th State House District, and with it, control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Republican Shannon Royer holds a 19-vote lead over Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith, with at least 270 votes still uncounted from the West Chester-area district.

On Monday, Voter Services will begin scanning in those votes. Results could come in that day or that week. The winner will likely tip the majority for his or her party in the House.

The most contested uncounted ballots may be inside green envelopes. They are provisional votes - which voters fill out when poll workers can't verify their registrations or addresses on the voter list.

Thirty-eight people voted that way in the contested 156th District on Nov. 7. Thus far, only six have been declared valid, 21 were tossed, and the other 11 are in dispute.

If the 11 disputed provisional ballots play a factor in the result, expect the courts to get involved. The 270 are untallied absentee, overseas, military or emergency ballots...

As workers processed provisional ballots yesterday in Chester County's high-stakes 156th District race, more than two dozen voters motivated to make their voice heard ended up getting disenfranchised.

Out of 38 provisional ballots cast on Election Day in the West Chester area State House district, only 11 were validated for inclusion in the final tally later this month. The other ballots were dropped for reasons that included failure to appear on county registration rolls.

The outcome of the 156th race, which pits Republican Shannon Royer and Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith, and a second nail-biter in the 167th District, where Republican Duane Milne faced off against Democrat Anne Crowley, are being watched closely across the state.

Exactly how closely was emphasized when lawyers for the two parties said they would contest the provisional-ballot decisions.

The Republicans believe that only four of the 11 provisional votes should be counted, while the Democrats contend that 11 people were removed from the count in error.

Provisional ballots are issued when the names of potential voters who say they are registered are not listed in the rolls at the polling place.

If Democrats win either contest, they would control the House for the first time in a dozen years. Republicans now have the majority with 102 seats to the Democrats' 101. Unofficial returns showed Royer with a 19-vote advantage out of 23,018 votes, and Milne edging Crowley by 136 out of 26,545.

In the 156th District race, the validated provisional ballots will be added to an estimated 256 absentee ballots, 55 military ballots, and two emergency ballots that have not yet been counted, according to the county spokeswoman, W. Evelyn Walker.

In the 167th, there are an estimated 380 absentee, 81 military, 33 unprocessed provisional and one emergency ballot that have not yet been counted. Officials said the validation process for the 167th district would begin today.

In a handful of provisional cases decided yesterday, prospective voters filed change-of-address forms through PennDot; however, when the forms were forwarded to Chester County Voter Services, no local registration was on file.

votelaw archives


Abby said...

Oh let's hope this doesn't happen!
Your blog caught my eye as soon as I saw West Chester. Gee, it felt like home. I'm from Pa., although moved 12 years ago. (family reasons)
I'll add you to my reads, you have a nice blog!
Have a real nice day!

Net the Truth Online said...

Thank you. Any particular interests, events, issues you'd like tracked at Net the Truth Online, let me know.

Abby said...

Thanks for asking! Anything current concerning upcoming investigations within the Administration.
Appreciate that!!
Have a good Monday!!