Concord Twp. residents dislike proposed polling place change
Controversy over the Concord Township polling place and its judge of elections kicked off a Butler County commissioners meeting Wednesday.
Kandi Nassy, a township resident and former Concord supervisor, spoke during the public comment session on agenda items. She requested that commissioners vote down a request to move the polling place from the municipal building to Concord Presbyterian Church.
“Most of the concern has been about the oversight at our polling location, not the space,” Nassy said.
She said the township’s judge of elections, whom she did not name, has a pending criminal case. Nassy said she has heard from other residents saying they do not feel comfortable being overseen by the judge at the judge’s own church.
The commissioners voted unanimously to keep the election at the township’s municipal building at 625 Hooker Road.
According to county records, Judith Stoops serves as Concord judge of elections and was elected with no competition in 2021.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Stoops said she had the idea to move the polling place years ago, but she had not initiated such an action.
She said staff from the election bureau informed her about long lines and waits at recent elections, and they asked her for suggestions. She suggested the church.
She said she had not heard any complaints or issues with the polling place being at the church.
According to court records, Stoops is facing two felony theft charges filed Oct. 16, 2018 by state police.
According to court documents, she was accused of stealing more than $12,000 in township funds through false mileage and health care reimbursement claims between January 2016 and March 2017.
The case has lingered in the system for years, over more than 30 appearances. The case is scheduled for a status conference Oct. 3 before District Judge Kelley Streib.
County solicitor Wil White said, if found guilty, the charges may affect Stoops’ ability to maintain the role, but the case is still pending.
“This poll is operated like any other poll,” he said.
Despite Nassy’s concern, Adam Price, precinct and poll worker coordinator for the Bureau of Elections, said the church, at 668 Hooker Road, could be a better polling place.
He said the township building was smaller and had some issues in the past.
“For large elections, like the presidential, it was a problem,” he said. “I’m told there was quite a long line, sometimes taking as long as an hour.”
According to Price, there are about 942 registered voters in Concord, which has only the one precinct.
In contrast with the combated polling place change, another was approved unanimously by the commissioners. The Clearfield Township poll will move from its municipal building to the St. John Catholic Church, 668 Clearfield Road.
Following the discussion about polling places, White, who is also serving as interim director of elections, offered a public service announcement reminding voters that the ballots have yet to be finalized and printed.
“During this time of year, the bureau gets a lot of calls from people to find out where their ballots are,” White said.
White said the county has a logic and accuracy testing scheduled Oct. 11, and could be receiving printed ballots around the first week of October.
White also offered an additional reminder to people who requested absentee and mail-in ballots to check the addresses they would be mailed to.
He said that for people traveling or planning to be away from home for an extended period, they should be aware their ballot may be sent to their primary address if an alternative wasn’t added to the application.
“Ballots are not forwardable,” White said. “It’s very common in college students.”
White said in these cases the ballots may end up sitting in someone’s mailbox or be returned to the bureau.
White said his office is ready and willing to assist people with the problem, but it would be better for them to come into the office to prove their identity.
“We’ll work with them,” White said.