MERCERSBURG, Pa. — In their decades of experience as election officials, two Mercersburg-area precinct judges say they’ve never experienced anything like what happened after the polls closed Tuesday.
With word of a tornado headed north from Maugansville in Washington County, Md., election judges Faith Carbaugh and Julia Grove took cover with their fellow poll workers.
Grove called the Franklin County Election Board to say she’d be delayed in delivering results.
“We left the polls and went in the bathroom,” Grove said.
Grove is judge of elections for the Borough of Mercersburg voting precinct at First United Methodist Church. She said the husband of one of the other four poll workers notified them of the tornado warning.
Carbaugh started offering her house as a polling place in Montgomery Township in the mid-1980s. Her polling staff previously encountered a power outage, but Carbaugh said the experience this week was frightening.
“By the time I got up this morning, my knees were still knocking,” she said Wednesday.
Carbaugh and two poll workers hid in the basement, while two other poll workers stayed in the bathroom.
“I definitely felt responsible for four mothers and grandmothers here,” Carbaugh said.
Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers said it was her first experience with a tornado threat on Election Day.
“They said it was pretty crazy there for a while,” she said of the Mercersburg area.
Polling got off to a smooth start Tuesday, then a power outage briefly affected the precinct at Falling Spring Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Chambersburg, Pa., until a generator restored operations.
Byers received the call about Mercersburg in the evening.
“Every election is something new,” she said.