York County reports high-turnout election as it nears final vote certification

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Even before final certification of York County's election results on Tuesday, it was clear that voters turned out for a consequential midterm election.

According to county Elections Director Julie Haertsch, county residents cast more than 184,000 votes, including some 35,000 mail-in and absentee ballots. That reflects a turnout of 59% — higher than any of the last four midterm elections. Those turnouts were 54%, 45%, 49% and 47%, respectively.

"I think, overall, it went well," said President Commissioner Julie Wheeler said after a brief, sparsely attended Board of Elections meeting to approve initial certification of the results.

County Elections Director, Julie Haertsch speaking at the York county election certification in York on Nov. 22, 2022.

That meeting was one of the final steps before the county certifies the 2022 midterm election results. A meeting for final certification of the votes, which will include additional provisional ballots as well as military and overseas ballots, will occur on Monday.

According to Haertsch, there were 1,647 provisional ballots cast in the election. The county still needs to process 115 provisional ballots before Monday's deadline.

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"When we do final certification, they will all be in," Haertsch said before the vote by the Board of Elections.

During an election that favored Democrats across the state, York County continued to be a stronghold for Republicans. The only Democrat elected, Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York City, ran unopposed. Statewide Republican candidates Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz also enjoyed strong support while running for governor and U.S. senator, respectively.

Commissioner Ron Smith, on left, President Commissioner Julie Wheeler, in center, and Vice President Commissioner Doug Hoke, on right, at the York county election certification in York on Nov. 22, 2022.

Once the final certification is passed, Wheeler said, the county will review the election to see what they did well and what they need to improve.

"Each time we do an election, it just gets better and better," said Commissioner Ron Smith, after the meeting.

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For their part, the three commissioners are pushing the Legislature and Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro to change mail-in voting laws. Specifically, Wheeler said she believes the deadline to request a ballot — one week before Election Day — is too short and puts a lot of pressure on county staff.

"One week before Election Day is just not enough time, big county or small county, to process a ballot so you can get it and back to us," Wheeler said. "It's just a huge burden."

The commissioners, however, were united in their praise of the elections staff.

"I think the elections staff did a tremendous job and our poll workers in getting the ballots counted same day," said Commissioner Doug Hoke. "Getting the initial certification done by today is a big deal."

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