Early morning voters brave long lines, chilly weather to vote in South Union Township

Herald Standard Report:

A South Union Township couple arrived at the polls early Tuesday to vote, and learned their ballots may not be counted.

Charles and Barbara McDonald signed in to vote at Laurel Highlands Middle School, and were told they were signed up for mail-in ballots. They neither requested nor received mail-in ballots, they said. They filled out provisional ballots and received a number to call after at least seven days, where they will give their voter ID and determine if their ballots were “counted, partially counted or not counted” and file a complaint if necessary.

“Now we have to wait a week to find out if our vote counted,” said Barbara McDonald. “It’s just ridiculous. If someone voted for us, we won’t know.”

The McDonalds came to the polls at 7:30 a.m. and waited for 1 1/2 hours to vote. They said a person from the election bureau was called to the polling place to instruct the poll workers on how to cast the provisional ballots.

Charles McDonald said problems like theirs will make voters question the entire electoral process and its legitimacy.

“What if it doesn’t count? I voted,” Barbara McDonald said.

“Every vote should count,” said Jeff Hulton, who left the polling place at about the same time as the McDonalds and waited for about 45 minutes to vote.

“I was expecting it to be longer,” he said of the line.

He said he had no problems voting.

Shortly after the polls opened at 7 a.m., the line stretched around the school building. Voters said they arrived before the polls opened in hopes of avoiding long lines. The backup dissipated about an hour later.

Fayette County poll workers need masks, supplies for June 2

By Cindy Ekas, Connellsville Daily Courier (Monday, May 18, 2020)

The Fayette County Election Bureau is working hard to ensure voter and poll worker safety as Pennsylvania’s Presidential Primary Election is fast approaching.

Gov. Tom Wolf has encouraged all citizens to vote via mail-in ballot during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

However, voters still have option to visit the polls on June 2.

In addition to processing thousands of mailin ballots, Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser and his staff are preparing to adhere to strict social distancing and cleaning guidelines on Election Day.

Blosser said he is also seeking community support to help protect Fayette County.

“I’ve seen where people are making masks and donating them to healthcare workers and nursing homes,” Blosser said. “I just wondered whether people might be willing to donate masks and supplies for our poll workers.”

The Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Elections and Notaries is providing every county with enough COVID-19 safety kits to cover 65 percent of their voting precincts.

The kits include a limited number of protective masks, disinfectant wipes, gloves and hand sanitizer.

Fayette County has 77 polling places, and each set will have up to 15 workers.

“This works out to about 50 kits, and the county needs to provide the remainder,” Blosser said.

“We will need, at a minimum, an additional 37 kits, as some of our larger precincts will need more supplies than are included in the kits,” he added.

Poll workers will be required to regularly sanitize all pens, touchscreens, scanners, buttons, tables, privacy screens, door handles and other items or surfaces voters and workers touch.

With poll workers at the precincts from 6 a.m. to at least 9 p.m., they will need to change their masks and gloves multiple times throughout the day to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“Donations would be a tremendous help and allow them to replace their masks more frequently,” Blosser said. “Sanitizing wipes would be greatly appreciated, as well.”

Anyone wishing to donate supplies should email lblosser@fayettepa.org or bguthrie@fayettepa.org, to arrange a drop-off time. Supplies can also be mailed to the Fayette County Election Bureau at 22 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401.

Additionally, residents are urged to join one of the Pennsylvania Department of State’s weekly webinars to prepare for in-person voting at the polls.

The webinars take place at 5:30 and 7 p.m. every Tuesday until May 26, and cover topics such as voter registration, voting by mail-in ballots and elections during COVID-19. Visit www.dos.pa.gov for more information.

“Poll worker wellbeing is extremely important to me, because they are an integral part of the voting process,” Blosser said.

“Election Day is a very long day for the poll workers, so giving them peace of mind that they won’t become ill is the least we can do,” he continued.

“It is equally important to maintain a safe polling place so that voters may exercise their right to vote and not be fearful of participating in the voting process,” he added.

For more information on the upcoming election, visit www.governor.pa.gov.

For more information on COVID-19, including symptoms, treatments and outbreak updates, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov. For regular updates, visit www.facebook.com/fcema911 or www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Cindy Ekas is a Daily Courier staff writer. She can be reached at 724-628-2000, ext. 115, or cekas@dailycourier.com.

Belle Vernon Borough Voting at Municipal Building

For the June 2 General Primary, the location of the polls for Belle Vernon Borough has been changed from the Belle Vernon Apartments at 502 Blind Avenue, Belle Vernon, PA to the Belle Vernon Municipal Building and Firehall (rear entrance), located at 10 Main Street, Belle Vernon, PA.

Election Officials Misusing the ADA to Close Polling Places

For Immediate Release
1/30/2020

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122
press@ndrn.org

Washington, DC – A new report released today by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) shows many of America’s polling places remain inaccessible to people with disabilities. The report, entitled Blocking the Ballot Box: Ending Misuse of the ADA to Close Polling Places, also examines an alarming new trend in which jurisdictions are misusing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to close polling places, a practice that NDRN vehemently opposes.

The ADA requires all polling places to be accessible to people with disabilities and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that all Americans have the right to a private and independent vote. When the United States Supreme Court in Shelby County v Holder struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required federal approval before changes could be made to election procedures, jurisdictions with a demonstrated history of discriminatory voting practices saw an opportunity — blaming their polling place closures on the ADA and access needs of voters with disabilities.

“After the Supreme Court struck down protections in the Voting Rights Act, counties and cities began citing ADA concerns as the reason for closing, relocating, or consolidating their polling places,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “The ADA was never meant to be used in this way and we challenge any jurisdiction that attempts to close a polling place because it is not ADA compliant.”

In this report, NDRN spoke to and visited counties with recent Department of Justice (DOJ) settlements for polling place accessibility. NDRN found these counties were working to be more accessible while keeping polling places open. Alternatively, counties that did not have a recent DOJ intervention and had not shared ADA surveys of their polling places or any collaboration with the disability community, seemed more likely to attempt closing polling places.

“The idea that making polling places accessible is too expensive and forces closures is a lie,” continued Decker. “The solution to inaccessible polling places is not to close them…it is to make them accessible. It’s clear to us from this investigation that these counties are not interested in improving accessibility. They are simply looking for excuses to close polling places and making it harder for people to vote.”

To read the report, view video commentary, and see recommendations for how election officials can avoid poll closures, go to Blocking the Ballot Box: Ending Misuse of the ADA to Close Polling Places.

# # #

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

Issues at Bullskin Township #1 make rocky start

Voter turnout in Tuesday’s general election was varied as election judges at two of Fayette County’s largest voting precincts reported differing trends.

Turnout at Bullskin Township Elementary School was also expected to be high as nearly 300 voters came to cast their ballots in the morning alone.

Things got off to a rocky start there on Tuesday when polling workers couldn’t access the school building to set up voting machines early in the morning. Parking and handicapped accessibility also caused some stress, but the school district officials responded swiftly to iron out the issues.

The relationship between the bureau and district has recently been a tenuous one as school directors, administrators and some parents, would like the polling place moved because of safety concerns for students, who attend the school during voting. While the election bureau has been open to moving the polling place, there has been an issue finding another suitable location within that precinct.

At a recent school board meeting, solutions were discussed, including, but not limited to, the closing schools district-wide on election day to protect the students and eliminate the distraction operating the polling place causes during school hours.

By the late morning, the issues were dealt with and things were running smoothly at the polling location.

TRAINING CLASSES FOR THE NOVEMBER 5, 2019 ELECTION WILL BE HELD

TRAINING CLASSES FOR THE NOVEMBER 5, 2019 ELECTION WILL BE HELD AS FOLLOWS:

  • MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 9:30 TO 11:30
  • TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1:30 TO  3:30
  • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 9:30 TO 11:30 AND 4:30 TO 6:30
  • THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1:30 TO  3:30
  • FRIDAY, OCTOBER  4, 9:30 TO 11:30
  • SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, 9:30 TO  NOON

FAYETTE COUNTY ELECTION  BUREAU

22 EAST MAIN STREET UNIONTOWN,   PA   15401

724-430-1289

Attention:  Springhill Township Voters

Attention:  Springhill Township Voters

Per court order filed on September 3, 2019 Springhill Township Districts 1 and 2 have been consolidated into a new election district designated as Springhill Township voting at Appalachin Community Center, 2390 Springhill Furnace Road, Smithfield, Pennsylvania 15478.  No voting will be held at Oak Grove Church of Christ, 4723 Morgantown Road, Lake Lynn, Pennsylvania 15451.

Election Board to have meeting Monday to consider consolidation of Springhill Precincts

Notice is hereby given that the Fayette County Board of Elections will hold a meeting on Monday, July 22, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. at the Public Service Building, 22 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401 to discuss the consolidation of Springhill Township, District One, voting at Appalachian Community Center, 2390 Springhill Furnace Road, Smithfield, PA 15478 and Springhill Township, District Two, voting at Oak Grove Church of Christ, 4723 Morgantown Road, Lake Lynn, PA 15451 into one voting precinct to vote at Appalachian Community Center.

 

FAYETTE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
Angela M. Zimmerlink
Matthew I. Jaynes
Mark M. Mehalov

CHIEF CLERK Amy Revak

2019 Municipal Primary Poll Worker Training

Training classes for the upcoming May 21, 2019 Municipal Primary will
be offered at the Fayette County Election Bureau at 22 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA

for Polling Precinct Election Board Workers on the following dates:

  • Monday, April 22nd from 9:30 am – 11:30 am & 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Tuesday, April 23rd from 9:30 am – 11:30 am & 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Wednesday, April 24th from 9:30 am – 11:30 am & 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, April 2th from 9:30 am – 11:30 am & 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Friday, April 26th from 9:30 am – 11:30 am and 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Saturday, April 27th from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm