Pattye Benson

Community Matters

TTDEMS Chair Dariel Jamieson Offers Comment on Special Election Ballot Hand-Counting

Dariel Jamieson, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee, provided a comment to Community Matters. Jamieson’s remarks speak directly to the hand count by Chester County Department of Voter Services on Monday of the Special Election ballots. Her remarks provide us with further details of the recounting process and I thought it important to provide them in this post (see below).

In her remarks, Jamieson brings up an interesting point – it certainly would have helped if Voter Services had run the ballots through a voting machine prior to the hand count. I would think that if Voter Services could duplicate the machine malfunction error, there would be a greater probability of correcting the problem! Echoing a question that another CM reader posed, what were the candidates told by Voter Services as the ‘reason’ for the 61 uncounted votes.

[Subsequent to this post, Dariel Jamieson has provided an official press release from the TTDEMS, click here to read. According to Jamieson’s information, over 100 of the 223 precincts in Chester County have not reported voting irregularities. In my opinion, there should be a complete internal examination of systems and procedures at the Department of Voter Services.]

In reading between-the-lines of Jamieson’s remarks, is there a sense that the end of the story may not yet be told?

Comment from Dariel Jamieson, Chair, Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee

I have been told by our witnesses that there was NOT a machine count of the Tredyffrin votes prior to the full manual recount. We believe Voter Services acted with good intentions, thinking it would be helpful to speed resolution of the special election by going right to a manual count. While this did speed things up, I personally believe that a machine count first might have shed some light on how and why the machines might have been malfunctioning.

Voter Services also told our witnesses that there was no way to know for sure that all the uncounted ballots were Republican, although seeing the outcome of counting them Makes it look like they were. We were told that all the ballots that were accepted into the machines end up in the same compartment, so it could not definitively be said which ones were counted and which were not. If something was wrong with only Republican ballots, why did they not all reject?

A reconciliation of the number of ballots that were counted in the manual count has not yet been reconciled to the number of signatures in the sign in sheets and names in the poll books. Voter Services has said that those kinds of reconciliations will be done after all the precincts in the County have gone through the official count process. If those numbers all match, then one could conclude that the number of physical ballots that were manually counted was the correct number of ballots. If they should not match, one would have to ask where the additional ballots came from.

Speculation that putting the ballots in face up, face down, backward, or with poor tears of the perforation could all be possible, but that seems incompatible with the idea that all the unread ballots were Republican.

And adding 61 ballots to the mix will almost certainly change the totals in the other races, bur probably not enough to change any primary election vote outcomes.

We, too, are waiting for answers.

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  1. We should be able to figure out the party breakdown of the 61 uncounted ballots when the County reports the final numbers. We know how many R and D ballots were reported cast in each precinct on election night. When the final numbers are released, we will see how many R and D ballots actually were cast in each precinct. If, for instance, the number of R ballots cast goes up but the number of D ballots cast remains the same, that will mean all 61 previously-uncounted ballots were R ballots.

  2. Well, according to the main line news website the Democratic Party is now not accepting the new results.

    I would have thought that having been present for the hand count with their attorney this wouldn’t be an issue — especially considering when they were leading by 40 votes the Dem Party strongly expressed its confidence in Voter Services to come to a dependable resolution. Many of their supporters even decried the GOP for saying they had questions because of the machine issues.

    Apparently, that was dependable only if they were victorious.

  3. I just want to thank Steve Shapiro for going “above and beyond” on election night and for writing his excellent summary of how the vote is closed out at the end of the night. It was a lesson to me to learn that not all the reconciliations he described are required at the precinct level. I vote and was a committee person in M-4, and I learned how they do it there under Judge of Elections, Jeannie Parisi. I believe the M-4 officials do the extra diligence Steve described, and other precincts may also do all or some of them. Perhaps one good outcome of this event would be to make those reconciliations mandatory.

  4. Pattye,
    Dariel’s concerns are legitimate. Republican and Democrat alike need to have confidence in the system and assure that no voter is disenfranchised. When you see a large enough swing of votes to change the outcome of an election, … “Houston we have a problem”.
    I am confident that voter services is taking this very serious and will do what’s necessary to prevent this from happening in the future. That being said, I am also confident that both sides will be looking at election results much more closely for some time to come.

    In recent years elections in Tredyffrin Township have been getting more and more competitive. It is very important that these votes are counted properly. Competition is good…it brings out the best in all, but makes it that much more important that races don’t end in controversy.

    Giovanni D’Amato
    TTRC West Chairman

    Pattye, what did you order at Alfredo’s? How was it?

    1. Gio –

      Wild rucola salad, pears, pecorino, raspberry vinaigrette to start & Melenzane con ricotta as entree — it was fabulous! And you?

      For those reading this — last night was a special fundraiser at Alfredo’s in Berwyn. 20% of all proceeds from the night’s revenue was donated to local firefighters. Thank you Alfredo’s for supporting our firefighters! If you are looking for the authentic Italian & it’s BYOB — this is it! Their website – Give it a try — you won’t be disappointed!

      1. Glad you enjoyed it.
        Fran had Burrata with Beats (we shared) I had Melanzane con riccotta (we shared) :)
        Fran had Paccheri alla napoletana and I, Vitello Sorrentino.
        We go there about every other week and I have to tell you…everything is incredible… Malto bene!!
        They make the Burrata themselves.. OMG its like butter!
        …at least we have no shortage of great Italian restaurants around here.

  5. John, you make some good points. When in doubt… count, and thats what voter services chose to do.

    As far as past elections being close…well the time to question those elections was then.

    About performance…as I said previously, these elections are getting more competitive…”he who wrestles with you strengthens your skill” (a quote from my father). As always we learn from this and prepare for the next election.
    Speaking for myself..this was closer than I expected and I will be working very hard to make sure we are ready to rumble come November.

    Please enjoy your weekend and I ask all to take a moment and remember all the fallen brave men and women of our armed forces this Memorial Day and say a prayer for their families.

  6. I must agree as well. As a Tredyffrin resident in a split household, we never would have even known there was an election except for Karen Cruickshank coming to our door, and her piece of mail. We did receive both Molly and Mike’s mail pieces, but they were so contradictory about the Paoli train station (which we care very much about because we can walk to it) we couldn’t believe anything either one of them said. We didn’t get any sample ballots, or anything on our door. We voted just before the polls closed, but did not receive a call to vote. Mistakes were made by both sides and I think both parties need to stop patting themselves on the back and get to work.

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