County sees high voter turnout

Fourteen Bedford polls run out of ballots

BEDFORD — The Bedford County commissioners said Tuesday they might be spending more for paper ballots next year after 14 polling locations ran out of paper ballots on Election Day because of a much higher than expected voter turnout.

About 59 percent of registered voters turned out for the midterm election, compared with 20 percent for the primary, Commissioner Josh Lang said. He said the county had printed enough paper ballots for a 40 percent voter turnout.

Bonnie Walter, a Kimmel Township elections inspector, told the commissioners the station she was working at ran out of paper ballots before 5 p.m. and that she had to help voters use the machines for the rest of the day.

Lang said the county might have to purchase more ballots for the 2019 election and commented on the price of buying paper ballots, stating it would cost thousands and thousands of dollars. He said each ballot is 39 cents and that there are about 32,000 registered voters in Bedford County.

Purchasing a ballot for every registered voter would cost more than $12,000, Lang noted when asked about the possibility of buying enough ballots for every voter.

Bedford County mostly runs on paper ballots because of the number of older residents who don’t like to use the electronic machines, Debra Brown, chief clerk director of elections, told the Mirror.

Commissioner Barry Dallara said the state mandate to update election equipment to machines that leave a paper trail would help with the printed ballot issue. But he said the state has not finished certifying voting equipment despite the mandate, leaving the county in a “chicken-and-egg” situation.

At the meeting, the commissioners also approved the hiring of Zachary Bender as a full-time Bedford County Jail correctional officer and the promotion of Emily Deneen from part-time to full-time correctional officer.

They also approved the hiring of Julia Bernazzoli as a full-time deputy sheriff.

Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.

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