The 2020 presidential election may feel like a distant memory, but not in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. County commissioners voted to hand recount roughly 60,000 ballots despite costs of county dollars and employees’ time.
Partisan actors have operated across Pennsylvania with successful precinct level audits in various counties. However, Lycoming is the only county where efforts for a complete county-wide hand recount were successful.
The hand recount required the time of 40 county employees, who would conduct this during their normal working hours and would not be paid extra. It began on Monday, January 8th 2023 and was finished by Wednesday, January 11th.
The cost to county taxpayers of the recount is estimated to be at least $55,000.
Conducting hand recounts such as this one is unlikely to change the minds of election conspiracists. Hand recounts introduce new inaccuracy into the results, due to human error while the counting is conducted. Additionally, recounts rarely change the outcome of the election. In Lycoming County, audits of each election are already conducted to ensure accuracy.
Shortly after the recount ended, the advocates that had pushed the issue once again expressed skepticism at the results. It is clear that partisan actors spreading disinformation about election administration are not doing so in good faith. Their actions threaten to subvert our elections by creating baseless doubt, thereby undermining public confidence in the underlying operating system of our democracy.
Bad faith actors continue to target counties with requests for information and for recounts. Their actions are overwhelming county governments and forcing them to spend limited resources, taking funds that could be better spent on increasing access to voting, reducing waiting time through purchases of more voting machines, and even maintenance of essential elements of election instructure.
Should efforts such as those in Lycoming County occur in the post-election period of 2024, the timeline below could very well be tested.
Recounts are an integral part of the electoral process when an election result is so close that a recount is authorized under state law. But the systemic demands for recounts based on false allegations of election fraud now represent an ongoing danger to our democracy. The pattern of demands for recounts not only wastes money and slows the process of finalizing election results. It is now threatening the legitimacy of our elections, as well as the ability of dedicated election professionals to do their jobs.
Lycoming County Board of Commissioners
Scott L. Metzger, Chairman
Scott Metzger is the chairman of the Lycoming County Board of Commissioners. He is in his first term, but had previously worked for over 30 years in the Lycoming County government. Metzger voted for the recount and has stated that he does not believe President Biden was elected legitimately.
Tony R. Mussare, Vice Chairman
Tony Mussare is in his third term as Commissioner. In addition to his elected duties, he owns a real estate company and is a life-long Lycoming County resident. Mussare voted with Chairman Metzger for the county wide recount of the 2020 election.
Richard Mirabito, Secretary
Richard Mirabito is in his second term on the Board of Commissioners. Previously, he had been elected to three terms as a state representative. Mirabito voted against the recount warning that it set a dangerous precedent and that it could open Pandora’s Box.
About Lycoming county
Lycoming County results in statewide races