Cumberland County Board of Elections votes to canvass ballots morning after Election Day

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The Cumberland County Board of Elections voted Thursday afternoon to canvass mail-in and absentee ballots on Wednesday, Nov. 4 starting at 9 a.m.

The announcement has sparked national attention and outrage from politicians on both sides of the aisle, as one of only a few counties in the Commonwealth doing so.

“They may be counted one day later than they were received if they came in early but they are all going to be counted within the appropriate time frame,” said Chairman Gary Eichelberger.

Cumberland County has sent out 60,075 mail-in or absentee ballots and 46,964 of those have been returned so far.

The Board of Elections did vote on Sept. 8 to pre-canvass those ballots on Election Day, but Elections Director Bethany Salzarulo says the state changed its guidelines recently.

“When we made the decision in September there was no need to worry about social distancing and COVID and having people in the room because again the room we have available we are able to social distance my staff,” Salzarulo said.

There seem to be differing opinions of the requirement of people in the room to watch votes be counted.

“We’re talking with them about finding the space. They can do certain things by camera, closed-circuit TV, or by streaming if they can’t fit all the party representatives in the room,” said Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar.

Commissioner Jean Foschi says she hasn’t heard from anyone with the state, but they’re open to help if it also meets their security concerns when moving ballots.

“I called up to John Fetterman this morning and said if you bring the National Guard in here to help us move them, we’ll move them,” Foschi said.

Either way, the commissioners want to reiterate that no matter when the votes are counted every vote will count.

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