WESTERN CHESTER – Voters in the north and south of Chester County who want to vote by mail in the upcoming primary election will not have to travel all the way to West Goshen to apply and pick up these ballots, and they can easily return them at the same time. when they take them away.

The Chester County Electoral Council – essentially three district commissioners – has approved the appointment of two satellite polling stations in West Vincent and Oxford, where registered voters can get and give away their paper ballots without trusting their mail.

Voting on March 31 was 2 to 1: Democrats Josh Maxwell and Marianne Muscovite voted in favor of approving the offices that operated in the last election since the postal mail came into force in 2020, and Republican Michelle Kichline voted against. move.

The offices were recommended by the district voter service department, and director Karen Barsum spoke about the location and functions of the satellites. They will be housed in the Henrietta Hankin Library in Chester Springs and in the Oxford Public Library on South 2nd Street in this southern district of Chester County.

“Chester County is a geographically large county, and the location of two satellite offices in the north and south gives all voters the opportunity to conveniently and safely register to vote, change registration data, apply for voting by mail and obtain documents. ballot paper, without having to go to our main constituency in West Chester, ”said Maxwell, acting chairman of the election commission.

Explaining her vote, Kihline said she considered the offices superfluous and expensive.

According to (Barsum), this is not a requirement of the law, ”she said in an email. “We already have 13 (ballot boxes), one of which is in the same place as the Chester Springs satellite. We are sending out a ballot paper to all citizens without an excuse if they do not refuse.

“It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars and unnecessary spending,” she said. “I haven’t heard one person say they’ve had a hard time getting a ballot by mail since the county started the program.”

Voting to increase the availability of paper ballots by mail met with opposition from many at the election commission, who shouted “no” when Maxwell and Muscovite advanced a resolution to vote.

The suspicion of the satellite offices stems from accusations by election critics, many members of the district Republican Party, that the use of ballot boxes in local public libraries in the district has increased what they believe was voter fraud in 2021 municipal policy. Critics who appeared at Thursday’s meeting again insisted that commissioners allow a “full judicial audit” of the 2021 election results, an idea that has failed among the three commissioners.

“We have evidence that we have a lot of voter fraud,” said Dave Schumaker, a frequent critic of the election process. “A lot of voter fraud. But we can not know anything, because the forensic examination and the finger does not move. Maybe your political career will end because you are involved in voter fraud. “

Schumacher was also greeted with applause when he said President Joe Biden, whom he called the “guy in the White House,” was not “elected fairly,” a baseless accusation favored by former President Donald Trump.

Dr Gordon Eck, chairman of the Chester County Republican Committee, called on the council to respond to his petitions, calling what he called an “independent investigation” into the election, although party lawyers found none of the hundreds of fake 2021 local races in 2021 voices. He quoted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as arguing the need for “good faith” elections.

But others, including Charlotte Valle, chair of the Chester County Democratic Committee, argued that the election was fair and that the electoral service had worked hard to ensure accurate results.

“I think that everyone who is worried about voter fraud should volunteer and monitor how the process works,” she said.

Asked separately whether they believe there has been evidence of vote rigging in 2021 or 2020, Democrats have apparently bypassed the issue, and Kichline has categorically said no.

“Every election held by the Chester County Electoral Service is conducted fairly and through a system of checks and balances that delivers election results that have been thoroughly tested for accuracy prior to certification,” Maxwell said. “Any allegations of election fraud reported to the Election Service are forwarded to the district prosecutor’s office for investigation, and if the allegations are found to be well-founded, a criminal case will be opened. We have always followed this system and will always follow this system.

“I am aware of the national narrative of election fraud, and I believe that our election headquarters is doing its job honestly and ensuring that the votes of each voter are counted accurately,” he said.

Muscovite pointed to the only case of voter fraud that was prosecuted at the local level, involving a Republican from Willistown who falsely voted for his son, a registered Democrat.

“A full forensic examination is unnecessary; However, I agree that we need to strengthen some policies and procedures of the department, ”Maskowitz said in an email. “Since voting by mail is still relatively new, we see that people are not fully informed about the process and need additional education, which is what we are doing.”

Kihline said she continues to call for an external consultant to review election procedures in the county, but not for the audit required by others.

“People often use the term ‘full judicial audit.’ I checked and could not find a legal or audit definition, ”she said. “I also want to make it clear that I am not discussing the 2020 election, I am still focusing on what happened in 2021. I would like the organization to review our technology and staffing levels, as well as all procedures in this department.

“I was also asked to access all the data that refers to some groups. If I had received them, I would have taken this data and sat down with our Director of Voter Service and reviewed it. I was not given anything, ”she said. “I personally have not seen evidence of fraud in 2021.”

To contact full-time writer Michael P. Relahan, call 610-696-1544.

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