Delco Extends Pact With Fort Orange Press For Mail Ballots — Delaware County Council, March 15, approved by consent 38 items including a contract extension with Fort Orange Press of Albany, N.Y., for the printing and mailing of mail-in and absentee ballots for elections during 2023 not exceed $150,000.
Joy Schwartz of Upper Darby objected to the pact during public comments.
“This was the same company that printed ballots last year, some of which were deemed highly suspicious by one of the foremost forensic document analysts in the world during a hand count back in January,” she said.
She noted it wouldn’t be hard to find a local printer, which in fact had been required by ordinance until the county changed the law last summer.
“(Fort Orange) is this company that prints ballots but does not mail them directly to the requester,” she said. “It delievers them from Albany to Philadelphia, across state lines, by who knows who, before they are mailed out to voters.”
She wondered why they didn’t mail them directly from New York, which is a pretty good point.
The system being used hides the final delivery location and allows the opportunity for massive ballot harvesting.
“If we are outsourcing printing of mail-in ballots, why does the Bureau of Elections in Chester need its own huge, expensive Pitney Bowes MEGA printer at the Wharf?” she asked.
She also pointed out that a right-to-know request had been filed regarding Fort Orange Press which the county denied and continues to deny despite the request being upheld in binding arbitration by state adjudicators.
Robert Mancini, of Media, who filed the request brought the issue up in the second round of public comments.
Councilwoman Christine A. Reuther responded during public comments that the Secretary of State won’t let them release the records despite the arbitration decision and the county has filed a lawsuit to resolve the matter.
There is no innocent reason why these things should not be open to the public.
Other Election Contracts
The County by consent extended its contract with Phoenix Graphics to provide printing of election day ballots for 2023 in an amount not to exceed $116,063.4; and approved a three-year contract with Hughes Relocations Services for voting equipment services for an amount not to exceed $307,020.
Prisoner Program Approved
The County, with Ms. Reuther dissenting, approved proposed changes to the Inmate Health Care Services Contract provided by Wellpath to the George W. Hill Correctional Facility to include a “return to competency” program through December 2024. The cost will be $226,674 for the rest of this year and $457,157 for next.
Return to competency is for inmates with mental issues who would otherwise be sent to Norristown State Hospital.
Ms. Reuther objected to to the use of county general funds saying the state should pay.
Little Flower Park
Council approved the advertising for the construction of Little Flower Park in Darby Borough. The project had been approved by the previous council three years ago. Ms. Reuther blamed the delay on previous council not allocating sufficient funds. So what is the county funding shortfall now, Christine?
In the second round of public comments, Mrs. Schwartz brought up the death by exposure of a homeless woman in Upper Darby earlier this year. She wondered why there were no beds available at the Breaking Bread Shelter which had recently been opened by the county to much fanfare. In Council comments, Chairwoman Dr. Monica Taylor said there had been beds available but the woman died in remote place not in the path of the teams sent to take homeless to shelter on nights with dangerous weather. She said that if all the beds are full on such nights, homeless are taken to a hotel.
Scott Thomas of Broomall and Laura Lewis of Radnor expressed concerns about how the county handles elections. Ms. Lewis noted that audit in Allegheny County showed that tens of thousands of votes were counted twice. She also brought up investigations finding problems in Fulton County, Pa. and Maricopa County, Az. You would think Council would start taking these concerns seriously even if they are convinced their elections are working. There is no reason to have 24/7 outdoor dropboxes dubiously surveilled by solar powered cameras.
Also speaking was Kyle from Upper Darby who expressed anger that the county wouldn’t let him raise a transgender flag at an event. Councilman
Richard R. Womack, Jr. said he had no problem with it. Ms. Taylor it was her fault there was a misunderstanding and that she will work with him.
Fair Acres Projects
By consent the County approved a contract for $53,480 with KCBA architects to design a Delaware County Health Department headquarters at Fair Acres Building 1; and a $59,550 contract with USA architects for evaluation services for the placement of the Medical Examiners Office and Delaware County Libraries at Fair Acres Building 7.
H. Lynda Kugel was appointed to the Delaware County Workforce Development Board for a term ending Dec. 31; and Al Achert, Damien Warsavage and Nigel David were appointed to the SEPTA Citizens Advisory board for a term ending Feb. 28, 2025.
Ridley will get an $85,000 grant for demotion of a collapsed home at 1250 Mildred Ave.
The County gave final approval for an ordinance putting weight restrictions put weight restrictions on four county bridges. The Mulford Bridge on South Avenue over Muckinpattis Creek in Glenolden will have a weight limit of 13 tons except 24 ton combinations; The Michigan Avenue Bridge over Little Crum Creek in Ridley Township, 12 tons; The Worral Bridge on Paper Mill Road over Darby Creek in Newtown Township, 15 tons except 20 ton cominations; and the Bonemill Bridge on Station Road over Chester Creek in Thornbury Township, 3 tons.