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Lebanon County is fast approaching Election Day without a director in place to oversee the county’s Bureau of Elections and Voter Registration.

But county officials said Wednesday the situation is well in hand.

“We have not filled the position,” said Jamie Wolgemuth, chief clerk for Lebanon County. “However, we do have a deputy in place, and the rest of the staff that’s been there.

“They’ve been doing a great job of keeping things going, and keeping us within deadlines. We have not had any hiccups here – things are going smoothly.”

The post was left vacant when Michael Anderson, the elections bureau’s chief clerk and director, was promoted to director of domestic relations effective Sept. 20. He had helmed the bureau for five years.

Just a month earlier, Jo-Ellen Reilly, the department’s deputy director of elections, had retired after 25 years with the county.

County Commissioners hired someone to assume the position in late September. However, their new hire, Jason Todd, quit a few days before he was scheduled to begin, in favor of another job elsewhere.

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So, when voters head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 2, for the next municipal election, the overseer’s seat will remain empty. However, county officials aren’t worried about the gap in leadership.

County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz said the county has appointed a new deputy director, who serves as “the ranking person” in the elections bureau until a new director is found. Also, she said, the company that provides the voting machines provides assistance on Election Day, and the county has hired an additional consultant to help things run smoothly.

Wolgemuth explained that ES&S, the vendor Lebanon County uses to provide voting machines to the polling places, “has always sent representatives to the county to help with any machine issues that might come up. We’ll be relying on some of their assistance.”

Christine Hartman is the county’s new deputy director of elections and will be running the show, he told LebTown.

“We also have Election Day workers, who just work for us on Election Day and the days immediately following,” he added. “Those people have done this before.”

Additionally, the county has hired Patricia Nace, a retired Snyder County chief clerk of elections, as a consultant.

“She’s been coming in a day or two per week … just ensuring that things are happening on schedule and assisting staff on questions,” Wolgemuth said Wednesday.

Wolgemuth told County Commissioners – who also act as the county’s Election Board – during an Oct. 21 meeting that Nace had recently commented that, “I think it’s good. I’m not needed at this point to do any heavy lifting.”

Anderson is also still in the building, he noted, and “touches base” with the office on occasion. Anderson had said in August that, if needed, he would make himself available to assist the elections bureau as much as his new job allows.

“It looks like we’re going to have sufficient help and expertise to get through,” Wolgemuth said to commissioners. “There will be plenty of hands on.”

“We have a lot of wraparound and overreach,” he told LebTown on Wednesday. “When you put it all together, it should make for a pretty good Election Day.”

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Tom Knapp

Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.