Although he possesses a valid voter registration card, Scott Schawalder said he was barred from voting and turned away from his Cranberry polling location Tuesday because his name did not show up as a registered voter.
“My name was nowhere to be found,” he said.
Along with his wife, Schawalder moved to Cranberry from the Philadelphia area early in 2012, he said. When they registered their new address to update their driver's licenses with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, Schawalder said he and his wife, Kathleen, also registered for new voter cards at their driver’s license center.
That’s where the trouble began.
Schawalder said he and his wife were given voter registration receipts, and they later received new voter ID cards in the mail.
During Tuesday’s election, Kathleen Schawalder said she voted as planned when she arrived at Christ Bible Church on Rochester Road.
Her husband did not.
Schawalder said he spoke to the judge of elections at the church, who placed a call to the Butler County Elections Bureau.
Schawalder said the judge advised him of a glitch in the state’s computer system, causing only one person per household to be transferred into the registration system after a family's address change. Schawalder said the judge of elections also said he had addressed more than a dozen similar incidents that day.
“I think this is happening to a lot of people,” Schawalder said.
At the Butler County Elections Bureau, registrar Nancy Enright acknowledged the office had received some PennDOT-related complaints. Elections Bureau Director Shari Brewer was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
Schawalder wasn’t alone in reporting an election-related problem in Western Pennsylvania. In eastern Pennsylvania however, Patch’s sister sites near Philadelphia reported a number of voting irregularities Tuesday, including reports of voter fraud and voter ID challenges.
In an incident with similarities to Schawalder’s experience, Caitlin Conyngham said she discovered she was not registered to vote Tuesday in eastern Pennsylvania, even though she updated her registration after moving, according to the Philadelphia City Paper.
There also were some complaints posted on the Pennslvania Department of Transportation’s Facebook page by people who said they were not listed as registered after they updated their voter registration information. In several cases, those people said they were forced to complete provisional ballots in order to vote.
As for Schawalder, he said he was given a new voter registration form to fill out Tuesday but not a provisional ballot.
“It was pretty disappointing,” he said of being unable to vote.
How was your voter experience? Were there any issues? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.