Cumberland County pushes for quick decision on legislative maps – The Sentinel

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Pictured is the Final Reapportionment Plan from the Legislative Reapportionment Commission for the state House seats in Cumberland County.
Pictured is the Final Reapportionment Plan from the Legislative Reapportionment Commission for the state Senate seats in Cumberland County.
The Pennsylvania Congressional map may officially be in place for this year’s election, but Cumberland County on Tuesday said a quick decision on the legislative maps is needed for local election bureaus to do the work necessary ahead of a May primary.
The deadline for appealing the proposed House and Senate maps was Monday, and Cumberland County officials said they hope the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will make a quick ruling on the issue.
“We need a decision, and we need it now,” County Commissioner Jean Foschi said. “Our county election bureau needs time to prepare for the election, they need to perform their duties with clear and concise deadlines.”
Commissioner Vince DiFilippo echoed those concerns and voiced additional worries should the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decide to have two election dates — one for Congressional and U.S. Senate seats and the other for General Assembly seats.
“Additional primaries will confuse voters, be more costly and will stretch already strained resources at the county and state level,” he said. “We need time to be able to prepare for an election so we can serve our residents in a timely, and secure manner.”
According to Bethany Salzarulo, the county director of elections, two primaries would strain election staff in its duties to conduct post-election activities, such as canvassing results, examining provisional ballots, conducting recounts and certifying the results, in addition to preparing for the November general election. The county also generally needs time to prepare ballots for absentee, mail-in, military and overseas voters as well as program machines. The county argues such tasks can’t be completed since it doesn’t currently know which candidates are running in each district.
“We are committed as always to ensuring a free, fair, accessible, and accurate primary election. But to do that, we need answers,” Salzarulo said.
The county noted that the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania filed an amicus brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to request the court expedite its decision and offer counties the time it needs to prepare for a May primary or multiple primaries should that be the court’s ruling.
“Pennsylvania counties have and will always administer accurate, fair and successful elections, but the longer it takes to achieve clarity around our Primary Election process, the more likely they will be forced to consider spending property taxpayer dollars on emergency assistance such as additional workers, printing needs and supply chain shortages,” said CCAP President Daryl Miller. “We can minimize this if counties just have clear, direct guidance on election protocol, as quickly as possible, and even more importantly, eliminate confusion and give our voters the utmost confidence in the integrity of the election process.”
Franklin County Commissioners also issued a plea Tuesday to urge the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to expedite its decision on the Commonwealth’s legislative maps.
Email Naomi Creason at ncreason@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason

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Pictured is the Final Reapportionment Plan from the Legislative Reapportionment Commission for the state House seats in Cumberland County.
Pictured is the Final Reapportionment Plan from the Legislative Reapportionment Commission for the state Senate seats in Cumberland County.
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