MERCER — Even though Jeff Greenburg is stepping down as director of the Mercer County Voter Registration and Election Bureau, he’s not going anywhere.
“I’m not sure that I would have taken a job that would have required me to relocate,” he said. “I told my wife several times that she will bury me in the back yard.”
Greenburg, a former reporter for The Herald, is departing effective July 31. The 60-year-old Shenango Township resident has led the Mercer County Bureau of Voter Registration and Elections since January 2007.
He has accepted the position of the National Vote at Home Institute’s Northeast United States regional director, starting Aug. 1.
The National Vote at Home Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, D.C., that’s dedicated to ensuring the security of elections addressing the needs of voters.
The organization works to assist voters, election administrators and lawmakers with the implementation of mail-in voting across the United States.
While Greenburg said he would be able to do much of his work from home, the job will require traveling. He couldn’t say for certain what states are included in the institute’s Northeast United States Region, but it will likely include the New England and Mid-Atlantic states.
Mercer County Commissioner Matt McConnell said Greenburg did a good job in his 13½ years running elections in the county.
“He has served with distinction and honor in one of the most important jobs the county can do,” McConnell said.
During his time as the county elections director, Greenburg has been active with voting on the state and national levels. He served as Pennsylvania’s local representative on the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission Standards Board and is a legislative chairman on the Western Pennsylvania Election Personnel Association, and is a past president of the organization.
He was a member of the County Commissioners’ Association of Pennsylvania’s Election Reform Committee for six years and led the state’s first risk-limiting ballot audit in 2019.
Greenburg also served as the county’s public information officer, although he estimated that was a side job that took up less than 5 percent of his total duties.
“It was a blessing to have the background to do that job,” he said.
Greenburg said he would be focused mostly on Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting activity through the 2020 presidential election, before helping facilitate mail-in voting throughout the northeastern United States.
“Especially in this part of the country, we are very much very traditional in our voting habits,” he said.
During his last year with Mercer County, Greenburg shepherded the county through its first election after the state adopted a law allowing voters to cast ballots by mail for any reason or no reason at all. Previously, the mail-in option was available only for absentee voting, and only after residents certified that they would be unable to physically go to the voting location.
He also introduced, in November 2019, a paper-ballot voting system with optical scan tallying machines at the county’s election precincts.
His replacement will have to see Mercer County through a high-profile, high-participation presidential election in the second time Pennsylvania voters will have the mail-in option.
“I’m in a position where I’m trying to get everything done that can be done in the next three weeks,” he said.
Much of that process is already complete.
The county’s ballots are finished, with the exception of any third-party presidential election candidates. Greenburg said that his successor will have a “great staff” led by Cindy Whitman, and a talented and experienced warehouse staff that stores and maintains the county’s voting machines.
“I believe that whoever steps into this office is going to be in good hands,” Greenburg said.
Greenburg said he will still be around as a resource for whomever replaces him.
But he anticipates a new challenge in promoting accessible voting processes.
“This is a wonderful opportunity that was impossible to turn down and allows me to continue to do the work I love best — election reform — with election officials, advocates and lawmakers in order to expand conveniences for voters,” Greenburg said.