An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


County planning new election results website

(Source: OUL file)

Lancaster County’s Elections Office is planning to debut a new website for election results in the upcoming April 23 primary election.

The existing website is “extremely outdated,” Elections Chief Clerk told the county commissioners, acting in their capacity as the Board of Elections, at a meeting Wednesday. It’s not user-friendly either for her staff or for people using it to find results, she said.

Its replacement would come from Enhanced Voting, a New York-based company. On Wednesday, Miller gave the board a presentation on the site and its capabilities.

Among other things, it is much easier to navigate and to analyze voting data. It allows staff to run a range of reports that could be made public, cutting down on Right-to-Know requests, Miller said.

Enhanced Voting’s cloud-based platform is extremely secure and meets all relevant benchmarks, Russ Hauser of the county’s IT department said: “We don’t see any issues.” It would not give access to raw election data, which the county keeps offline and protected.

Commissioner Josh Parsons asked if there were any concerns about debuting the site in a presidential election year, given the high level of scrutiny there will be.

“You need to be perfect before you go live,” he said.

Miller assured him it will be thoroughly tested beforehand, and the old site used if there are any issues.

On Wednesday, the Elections Board approved creation of the new site. The commissioners must approve a contract with Enhanced Voting for things to move forward; it is expected to come before them shortly.

Mail-in ballots

Meanwhile, Miller told the board her office had finalized the county’s mail-in ballots as of March 18.

That’s later than usual and later than would be ideal, Miller said, but the process was held up by several court cases challenging candidates’ ballot eligibility.

All but one has been resolved, Miller said: That of Joseph Vodvarka, a Republican seeking a U.S. Senate nomination. Lancaster County is moving forward with his name on the ballot, Miller said. A final court decision is expected on his candidacy soon: If he’s disqualified, or if his candidacy continues to remain up in the air, notices to that effect will be sent out with all mail-in ballots.

Due to printing deadlines, Vodvarka’s name will also be on ballots for in-person voting. Again, if he is disqualified, notices saying so will be prominently displayed at polling places, Miller said.

This situation has arisen before, she said, although this is the first time since Act 77, which legalized no-excuse mail-in balloting and greatly expanded the number of voters who cast mail ballots.

Mail-in ballots will begin going out next month, Miller said. That will give voters just a little over two weeks to fill them out and return them. The county Elections Office must have mail-in ballots in hand by the close of polls on election day; those arriving later do not count, even if postmarked earlier.

The Elections Board is meeting again this Wednesday. Among other things, the board will consider signing off on changes to eight polling locations.

There are almost always a few venues that have to be switched for one reason or another, and eight is very much within the norm, Miller told the board last week.