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Race for UPSD Board Seat Nearing the End
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
2023-11-29

            With the importance of getting the results of the 2023 General Election Certified before the next school board meeting, when the new members will be seated, Upper Perkiomen residents wait for the final, official, and certified results.

            Last week the certification of the results from the 2023 General Election were postponed due to a ruling of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  The court's ruling declared that not counting ballots with a missing or incorrect date violates federal law. "The provision protects a citizen's right to vote by forbidding a state actor from disqualifying a voter because of their failure to provide or error in providing some unnecessary information on a voting application or ballot," Judge Susan Baxter wrote in her opinion. The court's order states that the missing or incorrect date is unnecessary information and thus should not affect a voter's eligibility to have their votes counted.

            The election certification, which was scheduled to happen on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, will be postponed to allow for the canvass and tabulation of undated and improperly dated mail-in ballots. The canvass and tabulation will began on Monday, November 27 at 10 a.m. at the Montgomery County Voters Services Warehouse.

            The Upper Perkiomen School District includes Hereford Township in Berks County.  That county planned to have election services staff work Monday to prepare the ballots so that they could be opened starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

            There were a total of 349 ballots in Montgomery County and 432 ballots in Berks County that had missing or incorrectly dated envelopes.

            As of Wednesday, November 29, the results from both Montgomery and Berks County in the close race for one of five open seats on the Upper Perkiomen School Board still showed Democrat incumbent Peg Pennepacker (3,400) with a comfortable lead over all candidates.

            Pennepacker is followed by Republicans Sarah Bieber (3,251) and Elizabeth Fluckey (3,167).  They are followed by Democrat Leah Cianfrani (3,161).  Republicans Trina Schaarschmidt and Michael Long were tied with 3,150 votes for the fifth open seat.

            While the numbers have changed the position of the candidates in the results remain unchanged from last week.

            Other candidates in the close race are Republican John Gehman (3,129) along with Democrats Karie Ulrich (3,098), Christina Brathwaite (3,094), and Jacqueline Porterfield (2,990).

            After the votes are certified, according to Pennsylvania 1949 Act 14, Section 314; "if at any election two (2) or more candidates for school director receive the same number of votes for the same office, the candidates receiving the same number of votes shall cast lots before the county board of elections at twelve (12) o'clock noon on the third Friday following the election, and the one to whom the lot shall fall shall be entitled to the election."

            Because the court order has made that deadline date impossible a new drawing date has been scheduled.  According to the Montgomery County Communications Director, Megan Alt, the drawing will be held at 12 noon on Thursday, Nov. 30 in the Commissioners Board Room (8th floor) at 425 Swede Street in Norristown.

            Montgomery and Berks County plan to certify the results of the election next week.


 

 

 

 

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