CLEARFIELD — Clearfield County Commissioners discussed possible changes to voting precincts at its meeting yesterday.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Sam Lansberry of Woodland said he has voted at the Woodland precinct in Bradford Township for 55 years and was recently informed by the county that he now will have to vote at the Bigler precinct, which is located at the Bigler YMCA.
Lansberry said the Bigler precinct is a further distance away from him, and has parking issues because people go there to use the YMCA as well.
“We people consider ourselves Woodlanders, and want to continue to vote in Woodland,” Lansberry said.
Because his precinct was switched, Lansberry said he has asked the county to take him off the voter registration rolls.
“I have no intention of voting in Bigler,” Lansberry said. “I am asking you commissioners to put a stop to it.”
County Solicitor Kim Kesner said this situation started because after the 2016 presidential election, there were allegations of wrongdoing or voter fraud and there was pressure put upon states to look at their voter registration rolls to make sure they are valid and accurate, which in turn put pressure on the counties to do so since they run the elections.
As a result, the county election office began doing some reviews and discovered that there could be some people who are voting in the wrong precinct — and the allegation could be made that this was illegal voting.
To determine whether people are voting in the wrong precinct, the county election office studeied election maps for the precinct to verify whether or not residents are voting in the correct precinct.
When they looked at Bradford Township’s election map, it was discovered that its election maps were made back in the early 1980s — but they were not able to verify the source materials that created the maps. If they cannot verify the maps or clear up some ambiguities — the county might have to go to the courts to establish the election boundaries.
Commissioners John Sobel and Mark McCracken said Bradford Township isn’t the only municipality where this issue has arose
“We are working on this,” Kesner said.
Lansberry said Bradford Township doesn’t have any problems with voting and the county should focus on areas that do.
“We don’t have a problem, we don’t have a bunch of illegals, this isn’t Philadelphia where we have a bunch of illegals voting three or four times. We are all out there when we go to vote. We are willing to show our identification. It’s just a wasted effort that is going to inconvenience a lot of people. It just doesn’t make any sense, Lansberry said.
“Someplace where where there is a problem. You got some illegals sitting on the hill over here up above the truck stop — maybe its a problem in Lawrence Township — but they don’t come out to Woodland to vote. And we don’t have any of them.”
Kesner said the county might be able to put a stay to keep everything the same for the next election if they believe they won’t be able to resolve the issue in time, but said he hasn’t discussed this with the commissioners yet.
Sobel said the commissioners do not have the option of just ending the process and it is something the county is required to do.
In other business, commissioners appointed Julie Rae Rickard to the Clearfield County Public Library Board of Directors and Julie Fenton to the Area Transportation Authority.
The following personnel changes were approved: new hires Sara Gallaher, part-time DC III/probation costs and fines; Eileen McKeown, DC II/clerk of courts; Jonmarie Maines, DC II/clerk of courts; Jacqulynn Peters, part-time DC II/tax claims; Isaac Sanker, Gregory Hallstrom and Elijah Jacobs, part-time corrections officers/jail.
Transfers — Andrea Stewart/part-time DC II/tax claims to full-time DCIII/tax assessment and Shane Peters, part-time corrections officer to full-time corrections officer/jail.
Separations/retirements — Christian Flood, part-time telecommunicator/911, Hillary Davey/part-time telecommunicator/911, Kimberly Smay, DC III/tax assessment; Eileen McKeown DC II/clerk of courts;, Nichol Stahlman, administrative assistant/prothonotary and Frank DeHaven, corrections officer.
The salary board unanimously voted to set the salary of the new staff attorney Curtis Irwin at $51,000 per year. Irwin had previously worked in the public defender office.