After voting complications, Keuerleber holds sheriff's post

Logan Hullinger
Senator Kristen Phillips-Hill, left, and York County Sheriff Rich Keuerleber chat while waiting for the general election results, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Republican incumbent Richard Keuerleber handily won a contentious race for York County sheriff as the county released the final election results Thursday morning. 

Keuerleber won his fourth term with 39,448 votes. Challenger Shane Becker received 29,713 with all precincts reporting. Becker, a Republican, appeared on the ballot as the Democratic candidate Tuesday. 

Keuerleber didn't respond to multiple inquiries for comment. Becker, when reached, congratulated the winner before issuing him a message:

"That is to start treating your employees with respect and to clean up the hostile work environment," Becker said. "I left there for a reason."

Becker attributed his roughly 10,000 vote loss — he came much closer in the primary — to straight ticket voting.

Election results were delayed because of a shortage of ballot-counting scanners and technical glitches, which caused long lines, incorrect paper ballot sizes and many voters not knowing how to use the new machines, officials have said.

Temporary county worker Doris Feeser sorts and stores items returned from polling sites at the Elections and Voters Office at the York County Administration Building Thursday, November 7, 2019. The final vote tally was released earlier that morning after glitches with the new voting procedure on Tuesday delayed the count. Bill Kalina photo

The sheriff's race was considered by Democrats to be a toss-up leading up to the final results, as no votes in the Democratic stronghold of York City were counted until Thursday.

However, a York Dispatch analysis of voter turnout in the past two municipal elections show Becker would have needed overwhelming support and near-100% turnout to overcome the vote deficit.

In 2017's municipal elections, only 4,284 votes were cast — a 16.2% average voter turnout. And that election came with a hotly contested mayoral race, which likely boosted turnout.

The municipal elections in 2015 better resembled this year's election. In that year, only 2,943 votes were cast. The average voter turnout was just 12.5%.

Becker only picked up 4,318 votes, compared with Keuerleber's 3,542, to close the gap once the county-wide results were updated Thursday.

The sheriff's race was the most bruising race in this year's municipal elections. 

Keuerleber in July faced criticism from county commissioners over alleged special treatment given to a longtime financial supporter of the department, Bill Hynes, who recently resigned as CEO of United Fiber and Data and who remains CEO of Think Loud Development after being charged in a felony stalking case.

The sheriff also faced a litany of accusations from former and current deputies that he had fostered a toxic work environment. 

Becker's campaign wasn't without controversy, either. 

The former York County deputy faced scrutiny of his own over unpaid income taxes from 2010 and 2012 that resulted in a federal lien on his property. Those back taxes were connected to a now-defunct online education company owned and operated by his brother-in-law that scammed veterans.

This is a developing story. 

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.