Former Pennsylvania legislator Goebel curious about 'inactive voter' status
A former state legislator said he was improperly declared an inactive voter by Butler County election officials, an action which he regarded as an attempt to purge independents from voting rolls before the Nov. 6 presidential election.
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” said Butler County Bureau of Elections Director Shari Brewer. “Regardless of someone's party, if we get returned mail, they get one of those letters” naming them as an inactive voter.
Ronald Goebel, a registered independent, claimed that the letter was the first step in “eliminating independents that vote Democratic.”
State records show more than 113,000 active voters in Butler County, including independents and members of all political parties, and more than 8,700 inactive voters.
Goebel, 76, of Cranberry was a state representative from 1977 to 1980 for the 29th Legislative District covering Ross, West View and surrounding communities.
A voter can be put on “inactive” status is if he or she has not voted in five years. Election bureaus send out letters asking if the voter is still at the listed address. If the voter does not respond, the voter is placed on “inactive” status.
Federal and state laws require keeping an “inactive voter” on the registration list until he or she has not voted in two consecutive general elections for federal office after the date of the notice. Afterward, the name can be purged.
Brewer said that the Postal Service returned one of two postcards sent to Goebel notifying him of a poll change for an August special election.
Goebel said he got both postcards.
On Sept. 27, Goebel got a form letter from Brewer's office saying that he was marked inactive.
Brewer said she's talked to Goebel and once he returns the form letter verifying his address, he'll be declared active again. She said she couldn't say how many inactive letters the office sends out.
The Pennsylvania Department of State said Wednesday they hadn't heard of complaints similar to Goebel's.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Interstate 376 lanes reopen in Hopewell following garbage truck fire
- High number of rentals a double-edged sword for Butler
- Connoquenessing Valley innovative learning space emphasizes interaction
- Grant provides resources for SRO officer at Seneca Valley