Monroe County’s Voter Registration Office has received a number of emails and calls questioning the mail-in ballots.
Some want to know why election results changed so drastically once the mail-in ballots were counted.
Nick Full says, "Upon review and a counting of those absentee ballots the next day, the four winner or the four leaders were now the four lackers so there’s something around the absentee ballots."
Full represents a number of people questioning how the absentee and mail-in ballots are handled in Monroe County. In his case, Full was running for Stroudsburg School Board and seemed to be winning on Election Night only to find out the next day he lost.
Full says, "I put my heart and soul into this and I’m just deflated with the results because of the absentee ballots counting that occurred after the fact."
Monroe County’s Director of Elections wants to make it clear, you can no longer determine a winner on Election Day thanks to the state law that legalized no excuse mail-in voting. Night totals are unofficial until the mail-in ballots are counted.
Monroe County Elections Director Sara May-Silfee says, "It’s basically having two different elections. You’re running Election Day and you’re running a Mail-In Election."
While some counties are able to count mail-in ballots on Election Day, Monroe does not for two reasons. One — they do not have the manpower to make it happen. Two— it helps to ensure people don’t vote twice by using a mail-in ballot and then going in person to the polls. The Election Board does pre-canvas the mail-in ballots on November 2nd meaning they open the outer envelopes to have them ready to be counted the next day but they don’t remove the ballot.
Monroe County Election Board Chairman John Christy says, "It’s checks and balances. Should there ever be a question we can go directly to that ballot and say whether you voted by mail-in or whether you attempted to go to a poll."
May-Silfee says, "It is a safeguard. I feel much safer doing it the day after so we have time to make sure that nobody did anything fraudulent or you know tried to."
Then when they do count the ballots the next day, it’s observed by both parties and anyone can watch the process. The ballots are run through high capacity scanners, the results are uploaded through the state system and then they’re posted on the county’s website. Out of the 8,843 mail-in ballots that were returned over six thousand of them were Democratic ballots.
May-Silfee says, "If you compare that to the polls on Election Day, the Republicans seem to go vote in person. We had a 28 almost 29 percent turnout in a municipal election and that’s high."
Whether or not you liked the outcomes of the races this year, you can’t argue the fact more people voted in the municipal election than previously because of the mail-ins.
Christy says, "It is a very positive thing because people are taking the time, they apply for their mail-in ballot, they get their mail-in ballot, they make their decision and they vote."
Monroe County scheduled the votes to be certified on November 18th so they would have time to receive the overseas military ballots and count the write-ins.