Who are the Board members?
In a "normal" year, the three County Commissioners. In a year in which the County Commissioners are candidates, or when there is a County Home Rule Charter on the ballot, the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas will appoint replacement members to the Board. Current members include:
- Kevin S. Barnhard, Election Board Chair
- Christian Y. Leinbach, Vice Chair
- Mark C. Scott, Esq., Commissioner
- Solicitor Christine Sadler (Non-Voting Legal Counsel)
- Deborah Olivieri (Board of Elections Chief Clerk)
When do they meet?
Meetings are generally conducted on Thursdays immediately following the Commissioners Meeting as necessary. If there are no pending agenda items, the meeting will be postponed until the following week. The meetings are covered in Section B of the Reading Eagle.
The Board of Elections does have mandatory subpoena power, similar to that in the criminal courts, and may hold a full hearing on any election matter it deems appropriate. The Board is not merely a ministerial panel. It has been held by the Pennsylvania appellate courts to have "quasi-judicial powers", including sovereign immunity when acting in the quasi-judicial nature of its duties. It also has the power to grant immunity from prosecution in Election Code matters, and therefore a subpoenaed witness may not invoke a Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination defense to a Board of Elections subpoena.
Are the meetings public? May I address the Board?
Yes, to both questions. Admittedly, meetings can be a challenge for some people to attend. Issues of unusual public importance or interest can be scheduled at other times. If any citizen would like to address the Board at some length or in some detail, it is advisable to contact our office at 610-478-6490 to be given a position on a meeting agenda.
Brief or general comments can be made during the public comment section at the end of every meeting, but for more complicated presentations, please request an agenda listing. If you would like to comment on an agenda item before it is voted upon, please contact the Director of Elections prior to the meeting, or even during the meeting, and you will be recognized to speak to the issue.