CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners will meet with the Bradford Township supervisors and residents to discuss and try to resolve issues with regards to election precinct boundaries.
According to previously-published GANT News reports, on March 13, the Election Board decided to keep the township’s precinct boundaries, as defined by a court order issued in 1985.
The order granted the consolidation of the “existing Bigler precinct and Jackson precinct, east of Route 970, into one to be known as the Bigler precinct.”
Secondly, it granted the consolidation of “Woodland and Jackson precinct, west of Route 970, into one precinct to be known as Woodland precinct.”
The precinct issues arose after the last presidential election when there were allegations of fraud across the country. State officials were mandated to ensure the validity of voter registrations.
County officials maintain voter registration records and were in turn mandated to verify voters’ physical addresses and whether or not they were voting at the correct precinct.
It was discovered then that some voters were possibly not voting in the correct precincts in Clearfield County, which resulted in a notice being mailed out.
The commissioners previously directed the Election Office to halt mailing notices until a final decision was made. In March, the staff was directed to resume their mailings to the affected voters.
Bradford Township has two election precincts, which are Bradford First and Bradford Second.
In October of 2017, Bradford Second Precinct had 1,164 registered voters to just 569 in the Bradford Township First Precinct.
As of April, Bradford Second Precinct had 892 registered voters and Bradford First Precinct had 829.
During the public comment period Tuesday, Bradford Township Supervisor Ron Krise requested the commissioners to meet with the supervisors and for it to be open to the public.
Commissioner John A. Sobel, chairman, directed Krise to have the township secretary e-mail or call Chief Clerk Lisa McFadden to schedule the meeting.
Once there’s a date and time, Krise requested for the meeting to be announced in local media, so that residents can plan to attend to voice their concerns.
“And, there’s a lot of them,” he said. Krise added after the May Primary Election, he heard a lot of people were upset about the lack of parking with a ball game at the Bigler Civic Center.
“Many have said they aren’t going back to vote at Bigler. And, this was during a very low turn-out, which you already know.”
Sobel said the commissioners did travel out to the civic center around 5:30 p.m. Election Day. He said they also had concerns about the parking and it was alright.
He said while there was a ball game going on, there was some parking reserved for voters and spaces were open.
According to Krise, they had around 133 voters at the Bradford Township building but also had to turn away around 40 people who didn’t know their precinct had changed to Bigler.
Krise said that the 1985 court order is unclear to him, and he believes the commissioners’ interpretation was wrong. He said a lot of people want to get a petition going and change it.
Resident Sam Lansberry also spoke during public comment. He said the parameters in the court order were not fulfilled and the commissioners took it upon themselves to change the line.
He said they took it strictly from state Route 970 and arbitrarily used U.S. Route 322 to a dirt road by the Super 322 Drive-in to go over to the Boggs Township line.
“That’s a violation of the order,” Lansberry said. “… If I got a court order from Judge Ammerman and I violated it, I would be in trouble.”
Lansberry said what the commissioners did was “illegal and it didn’t really help anybody.” He suggested that they have a resolution written to present to the court.