The polls have closed; the votes counted and unofficial results from Chester County indicate that in the special election race for supervisor, Democrat Molly Duffy received 2,266 votes, Republican Mike Heaberg 2,226 votes and that there were 6 write-in votes. According to these results, the unexpired term of Warren Kampf will be filled be Duffy until January 2012. Heaberg was appointed in February 2011 as the interim township supervisor pending the results of the special election. Heaberg and Duffy will face-off again in the November general election for a new 4-year, at-large supervisor term.
The election of Duffy to township supervisor was history making; she becomes only the third Democrat in Tredyffrin’s history (and the first woman) to hold the office. I congratulation Duffy on this achievement and I look forward to seeing what she can accomplish over the next 7 months. There are many important upcoming township issues including the public hearing on a historic preservation ordinance change on Monday, May 23 and the June public hearing on sidewalks in the township, which will require her immediate attention.
The weather for the primary was dismal as was the voter turnout. It appears that only about 21.62% of the eligible Tredyffrin Township voters cast a vote in yesterday’s primary election. (Countywide the number of eligible voters who went to the polls is even lower at 15%), Of the 3,000+ independent voters in Tredyffrin, only 7% took their voice to the polls yesterday. Voting in primary elections is not an option for third-party voters so many independents may have stayed home, not aware that they could vote in the township’s special election. For those independents that did vote yesterday, our ballot only contained one race, the special election. Another interesting statistic from yesterday’s primary, – there were 63 people who voted in the primary election but did not cast a vote in the special election. Why? I wonder if that a conscious decision or an oversight by the voter? With an unofficial margin of victory at 40 votes, those 63 votes made a difference.
Yesterday’s voting polls were not without technical glitches. At my polling location, Tredyffrin W-2, a technician from Chester County was called for a voting machine malfunction. Apparently, the voting machine was beeping and displaying system error messages when some of the voters placed his or her paper ballots in the scanner. According to the County technician, other precincts in the township were reporting similar problems.
When the polls closed at Tredyffrin W-2, the counter on the scanner said that 517 ballots had been deposited; however, when the machine was opened and the ballots hand-counted, there were 522 ballots inside. It would appear that the scanner did not process all of the ballots. If this was a widespread problem, theoretically it could change the results of any close elections.
From the County website, click here for the unofficial results for Tredyffrin W-2. You will see that it shows 519 ballots cast – 2 more than the 517 ballots counted by the scanner. According to the Judge of Elections for Tredyffrin W-2, this is because two voters used the electronic machine and, therefore, cast electronic ballots rather than paper ballots. In short, the unofficial results reported on the County website are not correct because at a least a hand-full of paper ballots were not processed by the scanner and, therefore the results do not include the votes of all those that voted. The County will need to re-process all the paper ballots to verify the voting results.
Are the absentee ballots included in these County results? Will the re-processing of the ballots change the outcome of the special election . . . ? We may have to wait for that answer until the ballots from all 17 Tredyffrin Township precincts are re-processed.
I do not recall this technical voting machine malfunction in past elections, so here’s hoping that the glitch is corrected for the November general election.