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Pa. Counties Ignore Sec. of State’s Demand for Party Affiliation on Invalid Ballots

'As you know, we are nonpartisan in this office... '

(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) Election officials in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, among others, have decided to ignore the Secretary of State’s weekend order to track the number of invalid ballots per party.

Al Gricoski, director of the Schuylkill County Election Bureau, said that he would not comply because he did not want to begin counting ballots before election day, The Morning Call reported.

“I am not sending them anything,” Gricoski said. “I am not giving anyone any numbers about anything. That would be me pre-canvassing.”

Counties received the request on Saturday, Nov. 5, and had until Nov. 7 to respond.

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Similarly, Tim Benyo, election board chief clerk in Lehigh County, said that his office had not yet responded, and would not comply with the order. In his view, the question of incorrect ballots cannot be dealt with until after vote counting begins.

“I have reservations on the request, by party,” he said. “As you know, we are nonpartisan in this office.”

Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons joined Benyo and others, noting that “it is crossing a line that has not been crossed before in asking for party affiliation in an election before counting the ballots.”

Last week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the ballots are to be set aside and saved but not counted.

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Secretary of State Leigh Chapman justified his decision by arguing that she wished to be more proactive in her vote counting endeavors.

“We know that we will be asked this question if there is litigation, so it is our way to be proactive,” she said of the survey.

In what is almost certainly a partisan move, Chapman appears to have been working with leftist Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf, who has pushed for expanding the vote even to those who neglect to fill out the basic information correctly.

“No voter should be disenfranchised simply because they made a minor error in filling out their ballot,” Wolf said.

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