Local Politics

Republican official hopes recipes will flush out voter problems

Posted January 28, 2009 3:49 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— A Republican Party official in Cumberland County is mailing thousands of apple pie recipes to voter addresses he thought seemed questionable.

“We’re hoping for returned letters so we can challenge them at the local Board of Elections and get the records corrected,” Cumberland County GOP Chairman Ralph Reagan said Wednesday.



Reagan filed a complaint with the Cumberland County Board of Elections after three Democrats swept the county commissioner ballot for District 2. Reagan contends that some people voted in the wrong precinct. He challenged the veracity of addresses among the list of early voters.

Reagan said he looked at the voter registry and found about 5,500 early voters addresses that he thought didn’t look correct.

The elections board dismissed Reagan's complaint on a technicality, saying Reagan didn’t live in the district where he sought the challenge.

To prove his point, Reagan mailed a copy of a recipe for apple pie to each of the addresses in question. “Just Like Mom Makes!” it says. On the bottom, it says “This Recipe Distributed by the Cumberland County Republican Party.”

He said he’s had hundreds returned to sender. Under state law, a returned letter is proof that a voter has an invalid address.

“As Republican Party chairman in Cumberland County, it’s my job to look after my Republican candidates,” Reagan said.

“I don’t believe that to be a huge problem of fraud as much as I believe it to just be people slacking in their record-keeping,” Reagan said.

Cumberland County Elections Director Terri Robertson said her office will try to reach any voter who is challenged. She noted that soldiers and college students may be living out of the county but can still be registered to vote there.

Each challenged address will require a hearing. The burden of proof will lie with Reagan.

Reagan doesn’t think he can change the outcome of the election. Instead, he wants to shine a light on a system he believes is flawed.

“I would just like to prove that there were enough voters voting in wrong addresses to bring it into question,” Reagan said.

He even offered a solution.

“If we had picture voter identification, everyone would feel better about clean, honest elections,” he said.