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Keep your animals at home when heading to the Adams County polls

Written by Dustin B. Levy/The Hanover Evening Sun | Oct 5, 2017 4:20 PM
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FILE PHOTO: A voter casts her ballot in the primary election Tuesday, March 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Gettysburg) -- Pets will no longer be welcome guests at the polls in Adams County.

The county board of elections, comprised of the county commissioners, voted to prohibit the presence of animals at the polling sites during a work session on Wednesday morning.

They also approved a ban of the use of stickers for write-in votes and temporarily moved a Gettysburg polling place.

A polling location in Gettysburg Borough will change from the Gettysburg College Union Building to the Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority.

This will merge the Second Ward polling place with the Third Ward for the next two elections, the municipal election on Nov. 7 and the primary election on May 15, 2018, while construction is underway at the College Union Building.

"Over at the rec park, it's simply easy access, easy parking, easy handicap accessibility," Commissioner Randy Phiel said.

The sticker ban stemmed from a write-in campaign that caused problems during the May primary at a polling place in Mount Joy Township.

"It gums up the machines," Phiel said.

While a simple way to coordinate a write-in campaign, putting stickers on ballots is too great a risk to the machines. On a heavy polling day, it can be a nuisance to process ballots with sticker labels, Commissioner Jim Martin said.

If a judge of elections at a given polling place sees a ballot with a sticker, they will spoil the ballot and ask the voter to fill it out again.

"We welcome write-in votes, but they actually need to be written in," Phiel said.

The animal ban was not sparked by an election day incident, but a prohibitive county stance based on the uptick in people traveling with animals.

"We're just trying to get ahead of the curve in having some type of policy, not only in our polling places, but also in our county buildings as well," Phiel said.

Service animals will be allowed at polling places as long as they have a leash or other kind of restraint.

"Some people's comfort animal is another person's phobia," Commissioner Marty Qually said.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and The Hanover Evening Sun.

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