A last-minute change in candidates in York County Council’s District 3 Republican primary hasn’t prevented county elections officials from offering absentee voters new ballots, county election director Wanda Hemphill said.
“It’s been a bumpy primary process,” she said, “but outside of that, everything seems to be in order and falling into place and running smoothly.”
York County will hold a Republican primary on June 12 in western York County’s District 3 and in District 5, which includes McConnells, southern Rock Hill, and eastern York County.
The District 3 ballot changed after York County Councilman Eric Winstead withdrew from the race following his second arrest for driving offenses since taking office last year.
In May Winstead was arrested by officers at his home after driving his car off of a Chester County road. Accused of hitting a sign, Winstead was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving too fast for conditions. His court date is pending. Winstead was arrested in December and later pleaded guilty to drunk driving.
With Winstead’s withdrawal for what he called health reasons, the York County Republican Party seized upon a provision in state law that allowed the party to reopen filing.
In a half-day filing period, York’s Steve McNeely, a former York County councilman, filed to run for the District 3 seat against Republican Joe Cox, also a former councilman seeking to regain the seat he lost in 2010.
Following the York County GOP’s decision, county elections officials changed the ballot despite concerns about how best to deal with 80 absentee ballots that already had been sent out and some that already had been returned.
Elections workers reprinted and mailed out the absentee ballots along with an explanation of the ballot change a day after the GOP reopened filing, Hemphill said.
They were able to contact by phone a majority of absentee voters to inform them they would be receiving new ballots.
Of the 32 absentee voters who already had returned their ballots before the changes, the elections office has already received back 30 of the updated ballots. The other two voters are poll workers who are aware of the change, Hemphill said.
“We were really successful in making this work logistically and making sure the voters did receive an updated ballot,” Hemphill said. “I feel pretty positive about it.”