CLEARFIELD – A Bradford Township resident discussed a recent precinct notice received from the Election Office with the Clearfield County Commissioners on Tuesday.
During the public comment period, Sam Lansberry said he’s voted at the Woodland precinct for many years, and he and his wife were notified they would have to vote in Bigler.
According to him, township residents residing east of state Route 970 have voted in Bigler and those residing to the west in Woodland.
Now, there will be a bunch of Bigler residents going to Woodland to vote and vice versa, which makes no sense. The Woodland precinct workers will also have to go to Bigler, he said.
Lansberry said the Bigler polling place is at the YMCA/Civic Center, and there will be parking issues with it being used for exercise and other classes.
“We consider ourselves Woodlanders and we want to vote in Woodland, he said. He’s also taken his precinct issue to C. Alan Walker, who told him the township used to have three precincts.
He said it had the Jackson precinct in Shiloh until the township constructed its new building “on top of the hill” in Woodland.
According to Lansberry, Bradford Township formed three precincts in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s because rural residents weren’t voting because it was too far.
“So they located precincts within a one-hour horseback ride,” he said. “My horse can’t ride to Bigler in an hour, which is beside the point.
“It’s been working just fine. It’s always worked just fine. There isn’t any legitimate reason for it.” He added the commissioners will hear from more residents once they receive their notices.
Lansberry asked the commissioners to “put a stop to it” because it will only create a bunch of “unnecessary paper shuffling.”
Commissioner John Sobel, chair, advised that the commissioners had an “informal” meeting with the Election Office concerning the matter. He asked Kim Kesner to provide further explanation.
First, Kesner said the county did not make any precinct changes. Following the 2016 national election, he said there were allegations of voter fraud rampant across the country.
According to him, states were pressured to review voter registrations to ensure validity and accuracy. In turn, this put pressure on counties, which maintain these records.
During the county’s review, the Election Office discovered some voters were voting in the wrong precincts. He said allegations could be made that this is illegal voting.
Kesner said this conclusion was reached based upon mapping that the county has maintained in the GIS office since the early 1980’s.
However, he noted that neither the GIS nor the Election Office could verify the legal source of the mapping.
In the early 1980’s, he said there was also a petition filed with the court to consolidate precincts. This record was located by the prothonotary and provided to him, but he hasn’t had time to carefully review it.
Kesner said he wasn’t provided with any exhibits/mapping that may also have been submitted to the court at that time. He said those documents would be necessary to help determine the legal source of the precinct boundaries.
He said the election office can’t be faulted for reacting to pressures to ensure the validity of voter registration information. He added the county will do its due diligence and get to the bottom of it.
If after further investigation the boundaries remain a mystery, Kesner said the commissioners might be able to get authorization to have them established by the court.
Lansberry replied, saying it wasn’t like Bradford Township had a bunch of illegals. He said voters are willing to show their identification cards to polling place workers.
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken asked Kesner if the matter would possibly be resolved by the primary election. Kesner said it was difficult to provide further advice without first verifying the legal source of the mapping.
McCracken also noted that Bradford Township residents weren’t the only ones affected in the county. He said residents received the same notices in other municipalities, as well.