Election 1944: Soldier vote plans vary in district (10-12-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 12, 1944)


Soldier vote plans vary in district

Disposition of faulty ballots surveyed

Election authorities in 10 counties in the Pittsburgh district are following varied courses of procedure in deciding on the disposition of technically faulty military ballots, a survey by The Press revealed today.

None of the 10 countries canvassed appeared to be following the procedure adopted by Allegheny County Elections Director David Olbum.

Mr. Olbum has returned all ballots lacking the proper affidavits or signatures with letters asking the military voters to make corrections in accordance with the law and return the ballots at once.

However, one county, Armstrong, has adopted a policy just as effective.

New ballots sent

In that county, only three ballots so far have been returned without the proper affidavits. They were voided, but new ballots were sent to these voters with instructions for proper execution.

Most of the counties are simply laying aside the questionable ballots until the Board of County Commissioners, which will sit as an election board on the military vote canvass, adopts a ruling on whether or not these ballots are valid.

Of 111,324 military ballots mailed out in 11 Western Pennsylvania counties, 20,919, or 19 percent, have been returned to date.

From Fayette County, it was reported that as many as 500 military ballots may be voided on technical grounds.

Wait for decision

Election officials in Beaver and Westmoreland counties reported they are waiting for a decision, either from the State Elections Bureau, or other authorities, before determining what to do with ballots which do not conform strictly to the technical requirements.

Most of the counties, however, are seeking new addressed for ballots which have been returned undelivered. The new addresses, in most cases, are being solicited from the families. In two counties, Fayette and Somerset, the Civilian Defense organizations, which originally solicited the names and addresses, have been asked to dig up corrected addresses.