Commissioners will review 2020 election

November 18, 2021 Cranberry Local News

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The county commissioners announced at their Wednesday meeting that certain aspects of the 2020 general election will be reviewed after the first of the year.

Leslie Osche, commissioners chairwoman, said she has concerns about the election results.

“It is my belief that the final numbers may be wrong,” she said.

She added that she does not believe any discrepancies that may be found would affect the results of the election.

Osche said fluctuations in the voter roles and vote counts between Election Day and the day the election was certified, remaking of ballots that would not go through the scanners, voters who were listed as inactive because they had not voted in the past two presidential elections, military ballots that are allowed by state law to be counted for one week after election day, reconciling mail-in ballots and other aspects of the election will be studied.

“It is wise for us to consider a procedural review that could be done by a financial firm, so we could have recommendations by a third party,” Osche said.

Commissioner Kim Geyer said the commissioners are now waiting for a response from Aaron Sheasley, the elections bureau director, and his staff.

She said all other county departments are required to do an annual review, so asking for a review of the elections bureau will put that department in line with other departments.

Commissioner Kevin Boozel said every election has fleeing voters — or voters who arrive at the precinct and get a ballot, but do not vote — but the numbers were high in 2020.

He agreed that a review is a good idea to determine how the election proceeded.

“I do believe the election was certified and fair,” Boozel said.

He said one area of concern for him is the state mandate that all mail-in ballots must be counted in a single day.

Thousands of voters cast their ballot by mail in 2020 as the pandemic wore on.

“It's a big concern of mine,” Boozel said.

The review is currently being held up by a required review of the statewide Commonwealth Court judge race between Lori Dumas and Drew Crompton.

Wil White, county solicitor, explained that any race with results closer than .5% must be recounted in each precinct.

The race between Dumas and Crompton ended with a gap of just .33%, triggering the required recount in each county.

The recount results must be completed by Nov. 23. White said the count is currently underway in the county's juvenile court and should be complete by Friday.

The group of residents who have attended commissioners meetings for the past several months to insist on a forensic audit of the election were not placated by the announcement of the procedural review.

Several members of the group spoke as usual during the public comment session at the end of Wednesday's meeting to demand a forensic audit of the 2020 election.

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.