'Things come at you fast,' new elections director says as primary looms

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York County plans to print 169,600 ballots and 6,400 provisional ballots for the upcoming May 17 primary election — far more than the 88,000 ballots cast in the 2020 presidential primary.

"One thing I've learned as the new director, things come at you fast," Julie Haertsch, the county's newly appointed elections director, said Wednesday. "A lot of times, you don't have a lot of control over the outcomes, so I appreciate any moment that we can utilize and work more effectively."

Julie Haertsch, York County's newly appointed elections director.

In addition to the county's recent elections troubles — last year's primary saw some polling places run out of ballots — local officials are also navigating an ongoing legal battle over mail-in ballots.

York County will comply with the stay by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court leaving Act 77 in place until the court issues a ruling on the law that allows for no-excuse mail-in voting, officials said.

>>Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

Haertsch, speaking at the meeting, said the elections department is trying to control what they can while waiting for court decisions. Approximately 60,000 letters have been sent to those who had signed up for mail-in ballots as of Wednesday.

The elections chief declined comment after the meeting.

Additionally, certain polling places are changing in York County ahead of the primary election.

More:York County once again hires an elections director with no experience running elections

More:York remains a county divided in Pennsylvania's new congressional map

More:DePasquale rules out second attempt to unseat Scott Perry, cites redistricting

Five polling places have been relocated. They include:

  • Spring Garden Township 3rd District has been moved from Luther Memorial Evangelical Church, 1907 Hollywood Drive, to the Spring Garden Township Building, 340 Tri Hill Road Suite 3. Elections process implementation coordinator Bryan Sheaffer said the move is because the Township Building construction is complete. 
  • Hanover 2nd Ward has moved from the Municipal Market House, 210 E. Chestnut St., Hanover, to St. Mark Lutheran Church, 129 Charles St., Hanover. Sheaffer said the reason was due to complaints that the Market House is too small.
  • Yorkana moved from Yorkana Community Volunteer Fire Company, 42 Main St., Yorkana, to Christ United Methodist Church, 5 Main St., Yorkana. Sheaffer said the judge of elections in that area had been looking for a different location.
  • North Codorus Township 2nd District moved from St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 5671 Lischeys Church Road, to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 2173 Stoverstown Road. This move is also upon a request from the judge of elections, Sheaffer said.
  • York City 7th Ward moved from People’s Bank Park, 5 Brooks Robinson Way, to the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, 50 N. George St. Sheaffer said this change is due to a conflict with a York Revolution game.

The polling place changes were approved unanimously by the Board of Elections. Reminders will be mailed out to those voters who are affected.

More:George Scott follows DePasquale in declining run against U.S. Rep. Scott Perry

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.