Voters Put Off by Questions at Gracedale Poll
Three people who voted at the Gracedale polling place found it odd that a woman inside the building asked about their party affiliation.
Check out our Patch's Live Lehigh Valley Election Blog
6:15 p.m. update:
Northampton County Registrar Dee Rumsey tells Patch nobody should be asking voters about their party affiliation at polls.
NAZARETH - Three voters say a woman -- possibly a Republican poll watcher -- made them feel uncomfortable at the Joseph Thoder Building at Gracedale, Northampton County’s nursing home.
Voter Mark Cloeren posted on Nazareth Patch's Facebook page:
"Upper Nazareth (Gracedale) location was pretty low key early. No ID requests, although there was an RNC rep in the voting room asking each voter "Republican or Democrat?" After a bit of a discussion she said she was asking whether you were registered one way or the other. But it came across more like she wanted to know how you were voting. She didn't clarify her question after that, and it seemed to put some people off a bit."
Another resident said the woman continued to talk with voters if they told her they were Republican.
The woman was not at the polls when Nazareth Patch went there. Patch has been unable to reach Northampton County election officials as of 5 p.m. to ask about the situation.
Linda Post, the judge of elections at the Gracedale polling location, was visibly startled when Patch detailed readers’ concerns. Post said she personally did not hear any politicking, but was curious to know what the poll watcher was saying to certain voters.
Any party or political organization is entitled to have watchers at any primary or election.
Post said she didn’t know who appointed the poll watcher at Gracedale.
Marci Levine Morefield, posting on Nazareth Patch's Facebook page, said the poll watcher did not identify herself before asking her question, and “it was very off-putting to be asked my affiliation inside the polling place.”
Another voter called the situation “very odd” and told Patch that he “was not comfortable with it.”
According to www.portal.state.pa.us, the rights of poll watchers are:
- Watchers allowed in the polling place are permitted to keep a list of voters. Section 417(b)
- Watchers allowed in the polling place are entitled to challenge the qualifications of voters in accordance with the provisions of section 1210(d) of the Code (25 P.S. § 3050(d)). Section 417(b)
- Watchers allowed in the polling place are entitled to inspect the voting check list and either of the two numbered lists of voters during those intervals when voters are not present in the polling place, provided that the watcher does not mark upon or alter any of these official records. (The judge of election must either personally supervise or delegate supervision of such inspection of the list or lists.) Section 417(b)