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Mail-in voting is step backward

In response to the June 6 editorial “Vote-by-mail gets off to good start,” I strongly disagree that there is any hope against chaos for the November election.

Let me first say, that I have complete faith in the Blair County director of elections, her dedicated staff and the board of elections.

At least in Blair County, I have zero concerns about any intentional fraud. On the contrary, those involved have taken remarkable steps to ensure the integrity of the vote.

With no disrespect to U.S. postal workers, there are countless opportunities for mail to get lost or delayed. Every vote must count. It is not uncommon for elections to be won and lost by a single vote.

My argument regarding the opinion piece is that it is a long and tedious process.

The results in Blair County could not be confirmed for at least a week following the election. Nearly half of those voting did so by mail.

For several weeks prior to the election, the elections office was forced to hire additional staff to process applications. Officials have already spent days processing the mailed ballots.

The verification and tallying of these ballots not only delays the result, but adds an additional cost to each county approaching the tens of thousands of dollars.

This was the primary election with a typical lower turnout. The numbers for the November election may be double that of the primary.

Imagine the chaos that will ensue if the race for president comes down to Pennsylvania (and it very well may) and we can’t issue the results for a week or two. While there might not be hanging chads, Pennsylvania would become the laughingstock of the electoral system.

I haven’t even addressed our governor’s last-minute extension for certain counties. If this happens in the fall, it could delay the results even longer.

I strongly urge the legislature to take another look at mail in voting. While I understand its purpose and fully support allowing more people the flexibility of voting by mail, there must be changes to the process.

The current structure is a step backwards for honest efficient elections.

A.C. Stickel

Altoona

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