The Centre County Board of Elections says it cannot create a “Satellite Elections Office” in the HUB-Robeson Center on Penn State’s campus this month.
The Centre County League of Women Voters along with Penn State’s Vice President for Student Affairs and student government leaders, had signed a letter to the Board of Elections supporting the office.
The primary and a special election to fill the 12th district U.S. House seat are on May 21. The Many Penn State students will be gone by then. Supporters of the satellite office said it would allow students to get an absentee ballot and vote.
But, the Elections Board said the state’s SURE system — Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors — that is used to verify the information on absentee ballot applications is not portable. The Department of State’s system is secure and only accessible through the elections office.
Acting Elections Board member Mary Vollero said they are writing the Department of State to find out what it would take to make a system that is both mobile and secure. She said they're also hoping to find ways to make absentee voting easier for students.
Marc Friedenberg, the Democratic candidate for the 12th district seat, said in a statement that he was disappointed and the decision will “disenfranchise thousands of voters.”
Friedenberg will face Republican Fred Keller in the election.