Benner Township supervisor seeking recount after razor-thin election

Before John Elnitski Jr. hangs up his political hat, he wants to make sure a machine error didn’t cost him his seat on the Benner Township Board of Supervisors.

Two-term incumbent Elnitski ended the night just nine votes behind challenger Mark Capriani, and will be filing a recount to make sure every vote was counted correctly. Capriani ended with 361 votes compared with Elnistki’s 352, according to unofficial results.

“It’s nine votes,” he said. “If it were 30 votes I wouldn’t do it, but we’re talking 9 votes for a tie.”

Elnistki thought it was a little odd that there were five under votes, meaning the voter didn’t vote for that office. He wants to make sure people actually didn’t vote rather than the machine not picking it up.

He added that some people voted straight party, but could still switch it up for specific offices.

“I’ll be looking for a hand count to look at each ballot to see whether they were filled in correctly,” he said.

The Centre County Elections Office conducts recounts occasionally, director Joyce McKinley said.

If a candidate wants a recount, they have to file the paperwork with the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, and pay $50 for each ballot box, she said. After it is filed, a judge will review the case and set a date for the recount.

McKinley said the recount will be conducted by hand by two different counters, and the candidate is allowed to be there to make sure everything is done correctly.

The office had some inquires about the process of recounts Wednesday, but McKinley hasn’t heard of anyone filing one for this election.

Elnitski said he will review the recount process and file the paperwork in the next few days.