It is imperative that you vote on November 8 [column] | Local voices
Hello to the 351,707 registered voters of Lancaster County. We are 16 days away from the 2022 general election on November 8, and regardless of the hype, this is a very important election. As County Commissioner, I am one of three members of the Lancaster County Board of Elections, so I wanted to take this last chance to encourage you to vote.
The last day to register to vote is Monday. If you have a Pennsylvania driver’s license, you can register to vote online at the State Department’s Voters website. Registration can be completed online until 11:59 p.m. Monday.
Now let’s move on to mail-in ballots. Under current state law, you must request an absentee ballot each year. It’s easy to do at vote.pa.gov or by going to the County Elections Office at the Lancaster County Government Center at 150 N. Queen St. in downtown Lancaster. Fun Fact: At the office, you can complete your mail-in ballot application and submit your ballot at the same time! You have until November 1 to request a postal vote. But waiting until Nov. 1 means hoping the ballot will be delivered, filled out, and returned to the county elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. So request your mail-in ballot now. At present. Go ahead, stop reading for a moment and make the request. I’ll wait.
As of Friday morning, 42,710 Lancaster County voters had already requested mail-in ballots and 23,904 completed ballots had already been received at the County Elections Office.
Since the May primary, the elections office has secured nearly $400,000 in new equipment to process mail-in ballots faster. This significant improvement automates tasks, allowing election office staff to work more efficiently. So on Election Day, we expect most, if not all, mail-in ballots to be processed by the end of the day.
I know there have been questions about mail-in ballots without dates. In May, a federal court ruled that ballots with undated envelopes should be counted. So Lancaster County did. Note that in the May primary, there were only 84 undated ballots out of 21,947 mail-in ballots received, so only 0.38% of mail-in ballots were undated. A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned May’s decision, and another lawsuit is pending. Thus, the county will again separate undated mail-in ballots, to be counted or not as indicated.
The County Elections Office has been proactive on the above issue. Each mail-in ballot now comes with an instruction sheet (in English and Spanish) to remind voters to sign and date the Voter Declaration on the outer envelope (not the secret envelope) interior). Since there is no longer a drop box in Lancaster County, if you come to the Elections Office to drop off your ballot (come to the Chestnut Street entrance and follow the signs), the professional staff at counter will verify your signature and the date. . Or mail it, but do it quickly and be sure to sign and date the voter’s declaration on the outer envelope.
I would like to once again thank Christa Miller, County Elections Officer, and her team at the Elections Office. Norma, April, Philip, Josette, Rachel, Mary, Courtney and Kenn: I’m looking at you. This team supports the county’s 240 polling places, our incredible 1,300+ Election Day volunteers, and all Lancaster County voters. And, because this is Lancaster County, we have more volunteers than needed (not around the state). Everyone will be working long hours leading up to and during the election. After the election is over, the Elections Office will conduct audits and other post-election checks. As we always do in Lancaster County.
I wish I didn’t have to go into the next issue, but apparently that’s not going away. Without any evidence or real data, Holocaust deniers continue to spread false information about the stolen election — and not just the 2020 presidential election, but the May primary as well. And when given data proving that no fraud took place, their response is that the lack of evidence is proof of that.
What is particularly discouraging is that elected officials, in Lancaster County and across the state and country, either continue to support the lie or refuse to speak out against it. This creates doubts and undermines confidence in our electoral system. I find the tacit encouragement of these lies to be pure political calculation.
Importance of voting
Now back to the vote. In-person voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day. When you vote, remember that no one can block your entrance to a polling station. No one other than voters or accredited officials may be within 10 feet of the polling station door. And no one can watch you vote.
While some might try to cause distractions at the polls in order to support election lies, I think that will be minimal because, well, this is Lancaster County. We are better than that. And if someone does, we’re ready. Lancaster County will enforce your rights to vote and make it count.
I believe that if you don’t vote, you are invisible to politicians. If you don’t vote, they will work for themselves. Elections are when we vote for the people who will work for us. Tell people you know to vote, people you meet to vote, and anyone who says “it doesn’t matter” to vote.
Your three members of the Lancaster County Board of Elections have all served our country in uniform and have been sworn to the Constitution which gives you the power to choose your government.
So, and I apologize for the visual, but imagine me as a cheerleader outside your house, apartment or workplace shouting:
VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!
See you soon in the department.
Democratic Lancaster County Commissioner John Trescot is a retired engineer and executive.