Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin Special Election

Unofficial Results from Chester County Indicate Duffy Won by 40 Votes in Tredyffrin’s Special Election . . . Reports of Malfunctioning Voting Machines Add a Twist

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.

Light at the End of the Tunnel for Tredyffrin’s Special Election Candidates – Your Vote Counts!

There is light at the end of the tunnel for Republican Mike Heaberg and Democrat Molly Duffy, Tredyffrin’s special election supervisor candidates. Monday, May 16 will be the last full campaign day before the special election and primary election the following day. Appointed interim township supervisor on February 7, Heaberg faces opposition from Duffy in the special election . . . they will take their case to the voters on Tuesday, May 17. Vying to fill the open Board of Supervisors seat left vacant by State Rep Warren Kampf, Heaberg and Duffy have spent much time at people’s doors in the community, asking for support and hoping to garner a commitment of a vote.

Historically local voter turnout for the primary election is dismal; but maybe the prospect of choosing a supervisor in the special election will attract more voters this year. For us registered Independents, primary elections come and go in Pennsylvania, always without us . . . sadly we do not get to vote in primaries. Pennsylvania is one of 18 states where Independent voters cannot vote in primary elections; I have often-thought that closed primaries disenfranchise a significant number of the American people.

So although we must leave it to our Republican and Democratic friends to vote in Tuesday’s primary election, the Independents can make our voice heard in the supervisor selection process in the special election. Yes, all registered Independent voters, your vote will count in the Heaberg-Duffy special election race. Although we only get one vote on Tuesday, it is an important vote nonetheless . . . your can help decide who will serve our community as an at-large supervisor until January 2012. Regardless of who merges victorious on Tuesday, Heaberg and Duffy will both appear on the November general election ballot for a full 4-year term.

For registered Democratic and Republican voters, you too can vote in the special election but, additionally you can vote in the primary election for supervisor, school board and magisterial district court judge candidates.

The polls will be open for the special and primary election from 7 AM – 8 PM. Below are all our local candidates that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot.

In case you missed them the last time I posted them, I have again included each candidate’s resumes or bios. (click on the candidates names).

Although I encourage and welcome thoughtful debate and commentary on Community Matters, it is your vote that will make the difference on Tuesday!

Special Election Supervisor Candidates:

Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisor Candidates:

Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board Candidates:

It is my understanding that all school board candidates have cross-filed as both Republican and Democratic candidates.

  • Easttown, Region 3: Peter Motel (R) **
  • Easttown, Region 3: Craig Lewis (D) No Response from Candidate

Magisterial District Court Judge, 15-4-01:

** Incumbent

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