Berks County Commissioners decided to record the mail-in ballot counting process in order to avoid concerns about voter fraud.
In an unprecedented decision, ahead of pending legislation in Harrisburg that may call for it anyway, the Pennsylvania County will record the entire counting process on Election Day.
Berks County Chief Administrative Officer Ronald Seaman said that the recording will include all the mail-in ballot counting process. “Going from the opening of the ballots and the removal of the ballots at the DoubleTree watching them being moved.”
Cameras will follow those ballots all the way to the commissioner’s board room, where they will be scanned for the results.
The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Monday, Oct. 19.
Seaman justifies the support of this technical assistance by the difficult electoral climate, especially because of concerns of fraud. “The misinformation, the mistrust, the uncertainty, this just exceeds all expectations I’ve ever had,” the Officer said.
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Election office officials say the mail-in ballot counting will take hours. And the recording process will pose a logistical challenge as well.
“It’s anybody’s guess as how many hours this will involve. How many stations will have to be set up as video points. Because we don’t want to lose track of one area while it’s moving to another,” said Seaman.
Additionally, a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision ruled that mail-ins postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day can be counted as late as 5 p.m. the following Friday. This will have to be recorded too.
Mail-in ballot counting recorded
But for the county’s chief administrative officer, to record the mail-in ballot counting is a guarantee that ensures the probity of the process. He is looking for an almost “any means necessary” approach to maintaining the integrity of this year’s election.
“I’d rather have something that we can bring out if we are challenged on anything and have proof positive that this is what happened, not what you heard then not.”