Listen: What Election Judges See

This fall, Widener University Chief Information Officer Eric Behrens '92, Facilities and Capital Projects Technology Coordinator Mary Hasbrouck, and Facilities Management ADA Program Coordinator Susan Smythe discussed "What Election Judges See: Ways You Can Fail to Get Your Vote Counted in Pennsylvania." 

Each currently serves their community as an election judge. In the discussion, they discuss issues surrounding voting in Pennsylvania: closed primaries, no early voting, and absentee ballots only for those who are away on election day. Pennsylvania requires that voters register no later than 30 days before an election. Further, volunteers serve in the precincts on election day, and it is frequently difficult to find enough people to volunteer. The speakers share what they have seen at polling places, what might cause a vote to be invalidated or lost, and on what kinds of matters they exercise discretion. 

This talk is part of the Second Tuesday Cafe lecture series, which this fall focuses on the 2016 presidential election and its significance. Co-convened this year by Richter Professor of Political Science Carol Nackenoff and Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Sa’ed Atshan '06, the talks provided interdisciplinary perspectives on critical issues underlying the campaign and the likely consequences of the election on domestic and foreign affairs. Sponsored each year by the Aydelotte Foundation, these monthly talks are geared for individuals with no formal background in the subject being discussed. The only requirement is curiosity.

Eric Behrens '92 is chief information officer of Widener University. Prior to that, he worked at Swarthmore for 24 years, rising from a network technician to associate CITO. Eric has completed the third year of his term as judge of elections for Nether Providence Township, 7th ward, 1st precinct. He served a previous four-year term as majority inspector of elections for the same district. He is also a three-term elected member of Delaware County Democratic Committee and a vice chair for the Nether Providence Democrats.

Mary Hasbrouck has been the judge of elections at Swarthmore's Eastern Precinct since November 2005. Her prior involvement consisted of knocking on doors and handing out leaflets, but she found the 2000 presidential election process so disheartening that she told the local Democratic committee chair she would be willing to help out in future elections. When the previous judge moved away, the committee called her bluff. She has worked at Swarthmore since 1984, spending 15 years in Academic Computing and now as technology coordinator for Facilities and Capital Projects.

Susan Smythe is ADA program manager/senior project manager in the Facilities Management Department. She has spent many years at the College in a variety of capacities. Susan is the daughter of a Philadelphia committee person and started early with canvassing and mailings. Susan served eight years on Borough Council in Swarthmore, the last four as Council President. She currently serves as Swarthmore's representative to the CDCA. Prior to becoming a judge of elections in Swarthmore’s Western Precinct in 2013, she served as a poll worker and poll watcher.