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Commissioners around state want election reforms

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania is pushing for election reform with the focus on write-in ballots and pre-canvassing.

CCAP President and Butler County Commissioner Kevin Boozel said while there exist other election measures that need change, those two are probably the most important ones for the state to consider at this time.

Sherene Hess, CCAP Elections Reform Committee chair, said addressing those issues will help resolve a lot of problems with elections in the state.

Otherwise, delays in election results will remain a reality.

“We think it’s in everyone’s interest to have results on election night,” said Hess, an Indiana County commissioner.

CCAP officials say a significant portion of challenges counties experienced with elections could be resolved by allowing more time for pre-canvassing and by moving the deadline for mail-in ballot applications back to 15 days to coincide with the voter registration deadline.

They’ve noted that voters who waited until the present seven-day deadline before an election to apply faced uncertainty about their counties receiving their ballots on time.

Lycoming County Commissioners Tony Mussare and Rick Mirabito said they support such reforms.

“Absolutely,” Mirabito said.

Mussare said the issue should not be a political football.

“What is important to me is the integrity of all 67 county registration districts,” he said. “Our folks don’t matter if everyone isn’t playing by the same rules.”

Speaking further on election issues, Mussare said he would not support drop boxes for ballots.

He added, “If they are going to have them, make them secure.”

CCAP Executive Director Lisa Schaefer said officials are pushing state lawmakers to consider the reforms.

“We need a bill to move forward,” she said.

Lycoming County Commissioner Scott Metzger said mail-in ballots need to be counted and posted first on election day.

“There is a reason why they call it an election day, not election week,” he said.

Metzger also called for voter identification.

After all, he said, an I.D. is required for so many other sign-up processes.

“If you don’t have a fair and honest election, you don’t have a government,” he said. “Otherwise, you are living in a Third World country.”

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