Delco Council Changes Election Code For Worse — Delaware County Council (Pa), tonight, Jan. 18, as expected, changed its code making elections less transparent and giving veto power to the ruling Democrats as to who the state-mandated minority party member of the three-member Board of Elections would be.
The new law allows the board to reject all members on a list of three names submitted by the Republicans for the seat and restart the process. Previously, they had to accept one of the names.
Councilwoman Christine A. Reuther justified it by saying the Republicans did it once when they were in control.
Council also ended the requirement of a public report from the Election Return a bi-partisan organization created to double-check election results. The reasoning seemed to be that they weren’t following the law anyway.
That, however, wasn’t the fault of the Return Board.
Those speaking out against the change included Chris Fabre of Upper Darby, Joy Schwartz of Upper Darby and Carris Kocher of Concord.
Gregory Stenstrom of Glen Mills noted that he and Leah Hoopes have three court cases still alive regarding election issues involving the county, and that the names of the County Council members along with the Board of Elections and the County Solicitor William Martin have been added to CV-2022-008091 which is before Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
He also noted that the Board of Elections has been fighting, rather strangely, multiple right-to-know requests for public records and that it has ignored orders to produce the information in at least one case.
Ms. Schwartz expressed concern over a plan to consolidate voting precincts hence weakening local control. She also asked about a report that the county sought to abolish precinct voting.
While Ms. Reuther admitted that Council thought some of county’s 428 precincts were too small and should be consolidated, others were thought too big and should be broken up.
She said only the state legislature could end precinct voting.
Fabre warned Council its actions will raise suspicions among the public as it is removing transparency.
Mrs. Kocher noted that the new ordinance appears to be at odds with state code especially regarding the elimination of the need for the return board to advertise its report.
Martin revealed that a voluntary hand recount was held in the 3rd Precinct of Haverford’s 2nd Ward to ease concerns of another group regarding November’s election.
James Allen, the county director of election operations, said it was watched by those making the request who were allowed within two feet of the ballots. The hand count was found to be 100 percent in compliance with the official results.
For other things that happened at the meeting — including the revelation that council is ignoring a crisis at the prison — see next story.
2 thoughts on “Delco Council Changes Election Code For Worse”
Here is a link to lawsuit CV-2022-008091 in Delaware County Common Pleas Court as cited by Greg Stenstrom: https://cloud.patriot.online/s/yYnti7SfHspqrM5
We appreciate that Bill attends the County Council Meeting so actions don’t happen “in the
cover of darknes”.
Bob and Paula