How are surrounding counties handling Election Day?

A lot has changed for election offices in the last few years. From mail-in ballots to the pandemic causing a poll worker shortage, we spoke with commissioners from both parties in multiple counties to get an unbiased look at where things stand.

“We are seeing all these mail-ins and we are spending a ton of money on postage and things. As you see behind me, we have a lot of extra employees to execute this process, which is a pricey endeavor,” said Nick Sherman, Washington County commissioner.

The costs for all the extra staffing in Washington County are coming from the state funding handed out from Act 88. The county received just over $730,000.

Washington County is not alone. Butler County received over $600,000, Fayette County $400,000 and Beaver County over $550,000. That money is helping to pay staff around the clock to get all ballots opened and counted that day.

“We will have all the ballots pulled out, stacked on the table. The elections department will be the ones officially scanning them and some other long-term employees,” said Dan Camp Beaver County commissioner.

For each of these counties, the commissioners told Channel 11 the process is getting easier since the 2020 election.

Many ballots have already been returned. Beaver County reports 78% of the requested mail-ins ballots have been returned. For Butler County, the return rate is 60%; Fayette County, 70%; and Washington County, 68%.

When it comes to staffing the polls, that’s not an issue this year.

“I can honestly tell you we are better prepared for this election than the last four, just because of memory we knew where the holes and gaps were and we’ve adjusted them,” said Kevin Boozel, Butler County commissioner.

Butler County is also coming into this election with a new director and a new space, which commissioners believe will only benefit the county.

“Our counting area, it’s just a better area we are doing it in, as opposed to tight quarters. We now have the ability to move around visible screens where people can watch,” Boozel said.

While the counties are staffed for poll workers, they are always looking for last-minute help to fill any cancellations if needed on Tuesday.

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