Go time! Election breakdown, rules and regs

By on November 2, 2016
Sarcasm and frustration have been frequent themes in voter conversation during this presidential election. Polls open at 7 a.m. next Tuesday.

Sarcasm and frustration have been frequent themes in voter conversation during this presidential election. Polls open at 7 a.m. next Tuesday.

As the rollercoaster 2016 Presidential election cycle winds down, poll-watching, voter etiquette, and ballot integrity have become issues of concern.

Of course who will be watching whom will depend on where you cast your vote next Tuesday, Nov. 8,

There have been no polling location changes in the Lititz, Manheim, and Warwick Township region, which is reflective of Lancaster County’s breakdown of 52 percent Republican, 32 percent Democrat and 15 percent independent.

So, poll watchers in the Lititz area will work at voting stations in areas dominated by GOP voters. Two basic rules apply for poll watchers: you must be a registered voter in Lancaster County and the positions of Judge of Elections and Inspector of Elections must be registered in the precinct where they seek to be elected.

The total registered voters in the Warwick School District is 21,280. Of those, 12,439 are Republican and 5,750 are Democrats. The rest are registered with another party or have no affiliation.

Total registration in the Manheim Central School District is 16,655. Of those 10,540 are Republican and 3,646 are Democrats. The rest are registered with another party or have no affiliation.

In Lititz’s three wards, there are 6,440 registered voters, of which 53 percent are Republicans, 31 percent Democrats, and 16 percent “other.” Lititz has the largest percentage of Democrats — driven by 34 percent in the borough’s 1st Ward — of all of the precincts in Lititz, Manheim and Warwick Township.

Warwick Township, which has 12,540 registered voters in nine precincts, tallies 60 percent GOP voters compared to 26 percent Democrat and 14 percent other.

Six of the nine Warwick precincts have a 60 percent or higher total of registered GOP voters — led by Millport at 69 percent, and Brunnerville at 67 percent GOP.

The Woodcrest precinct has the highest percentage of Democratic voters with 32 percent of the precinct. Clay has the most registered Democrats, with 649 among the total 2,132 voters in the precinct.

Clay and Woodcrest precincts also tied for the greatest percentage of independent/other voters in Warwick Township with 18 percent each.

Manheim Borough’s registration totals followed closely with Lititz’s totals. In its two wards, there are 3,070 registered voters, of which 56 percent are Republicans, 28 percent Democrats, and 16 percent “other.”

The largest number of registered Republicans are in the borough’s 2nd and 3rd Wards with total 2,789 GOP voters or exactly 55 percent. Both the 1st and 4th Wards total 56 percent GOP voters.

The Lititz area has followed Lancaster County trends where one-third of all the county’s Democrats live in four municipalities: Lancaster city, Lancaster Township, Columbia Borough, and Millersville Borough.

There are no precincts in the county where independents and minor party members outnumber Democrats, but there are 14 where they outnumber Republicans. In fact, independents have nearly overtaken the GOP in Lancaster city, where there are 24,128 Democrats, 8,172 Republicans and 7,723 voters who belong to neither party.

Whether you’re Dem, GOP or Independent, you should be aware of expected behavior while at the poll. The Department of State last month crafted a letter entitled “Guidance on rules in effect at the polling place on Election Day.”

It details who is “explicitly permitted” at the polls while voting is occurring:

  1. Precinct Election Officials. These include the Judge of Election, the Inspectors (Majority and Minority), appointed clerks and machine operators.
  2. Voters in the process of voting, but no more than 10 voters at a time. Others waiting to vote must wait outside the area where voting is occurring.
  3. Persons lawfully providing assistance to voters.
  4. Poll watchers. Poll watchers are registered voters in the county who have been appointed by a party or candidate to observe at the precinct. One poll watcher per party and one poll watcher per candidate may be inside at any given time. Watchers must remain at least six feet away from the area where voting is occurring.
  5. Overseers are registered voters of the precinct who may be appointed, upon petition, by all of the judges of the county Court of Common Pleas to supervise the election. Two per precinct may be appointed and they must belong to two different political parties.
  6. Constables and Deputy Constables for the purpose of preserving the peace.

Another concern voiced by voters in the 2016 election doubts that each vote is counted. There are options to vote electronically or use a paper ballot, which provides an actually paper trail.

Lancaster County election officials’ first instruction for using a paper ballot is to mark your paper ballot correctly by completely filing the box beside your choice using a blue or black ink pen. No pencils; only pens will register.

In the case of voting for a write-in candidate, voters should completely fill the box beside the words “Write-In” and write the name of your choice on the blank line provided. When your paper ballot is marked, voters should take it to the eScan machine at your polling place and insert it into the ballot feed slot.

The eScan is a digital scanner that reads paper ballots will display a “Ready to Scan” alert when the machine is available for the next ballot. Officials say look to for verification that “Scanning Ballot” message is displayed and voters should respond to any voter Instruction messages.

If the ballot is properly marked eScan accepts the ballot and displays the waving American flag to indicate that the ballot has been recorded. If the ballot has improperly marked, contests, information screens appears for each contest that requires attention.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record-Express. He welcomes your questions and comments at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com, or 721-4455.

Sample Ballot

sample-ballot

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