Times set for pre-canvass, canvass of mail-in, absentee ballots

Apr. 18—Times for the public pre-canvass and canvass of mail-in and absentee ballots in Tuesday's primary election have been set by the Crawford County Board of Elections.

At their meeting Wednesday, board members approved the public pre-canvass, or opening of only the outer envelopes of the mail-in and absentee ballots, for 7 a.m. Tuesday in the Assembly Room at the Crawford County Courthouse, 903 Diamond Park, Meadville. Pre-canvass will continue as needed until 8 p.m. that day.

The pre-canvass start and end time of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. coincides with when polls are open on Election Day for in-person voting at the 61 precincts around the county.

Canvassing, or counting of those mail-in and absentee votes by opening of the secrecy envelope containing the actual mail-in or absentee ballot, won't take place until 8 p.m. Election Day in the Assembly Room. The start of public canvassing coincides with the 8 p.m. closure of in-person voting at county precincts. Canvassing of the mail-in and absentee ballots will continue until completion.

A total of 4,430 registered voters in Crawford County applied for either a mail-in or absentee ballot by the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline, according to the Crawford County Office of Election and Voter Services.

However, only 2,608 of the mail-in or absentee ballots had been returned as of Wednesday morning, according to Jessalyn McFarland, director of elections.

Mail-in and absentee ballots must be received at the office by 8 p.m. Election Day in order to be counted.

Those who vote by machine at their respective precincts will have their votes tallied after polls close at 8 p.m. Machine counts are made by poll workers at each precinct, with individual precinct results taken to the Election and Voter Services Office at the courthouse as well as posted at the respective precinct.

The Board of Elections recessed Wednesday's meeting until 1 p.m. Monday in the Assembly Room at the courthouse. The board reconvenes Monday to appoint emergency election poll workers as needed for Tuesday's election.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.