Ballot counting continues in Luzerne County, Kingston mayoral race down to the wire

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Watching, waiting, and counting. Three days after election day many counties are still counting the votes and in Luzerne County, the vote count is crucial for the race for mayor of Kingston where only one vote separates the candidates.

The final numbers in that race may not be confirmed until Tuesday of next week right now Republican Robert Thompson Jr. has a razor-thin lead over democrat Jeffrey Coslett 1,308 to 1,307 the vote count is a slow and tedious process but both county election officials say it’s about getting it right for all the races.

“I guess that just goes to show you how much respect we give to try and make sure that every vote counts that no one is disenfranchised,” said Denise Williams, Chair of Luzerne County Board of Elections.

That translates into hours and hours extending into days verifying and confirming the accuracy of mail-in ballots and provisional ballots.

Provisional ballots are used, for example, if a voter sends in a mail-in ballot but then decides to vote in person at a polling place. The provisional ballot negates the mail-in ballot.

So, people can’t vote twice so every ballot that could affect races in the county including the Kingston mayoral race is scrutinized.

“As you saw as you were sitting there some of them we are going through individual ballots some are like groups like 20 and that may not be the number didn’t have dates,” stated Williams.

All of this under the watchful eye of Robert Thompson Junior the Republican candidate for Kingston mayor and democrat Jeffrey Coslett hundreds of mail-in ballots have to be vetted.

Seven provisional ballots were cleared Friday to be added to the vote count.

“So there could be votes in Kingston in a provisional also those ballots with deficiencies in Kingston for that Ward too. So there could be votes from there as well,” explained Williams.

County manager Romilda Crocamo says “time” is not a factor when it comes to getting it right.

“It is part of the process. It is a very tedious exacting process. We want to make sure it’s right. I’m really happy to see the candidates and the party representatives here,” said Crocamo.

A race that may not be decided until early next week. But both candidates tell me they are perfectly fine with that they just want it to be done right.

“This is interesting this is really interesting. I never sat in on one of these in 24 years of doing this. I’m impressed in the way these people handle this,” said Thompson. 

Republican Robert Thompson Jr and Democrat Jeffrey Coslett watched and waited for much of the day Friday and the Luzerne County Board of Elections vetted mail-in ballots as well as provisional ballots.

“Like Bo said this is interesting. People don’t see this behind the scenes. See how they do this. I think they do a great job. This is tedious you know it’s difficult tedious. I don’t think I’d want to do that. to be honest with you I’m more for being on this side than their side no doubt about it,” explained Jeffrey Coslett.

Thompson and Coslett agree. Time is not a factor when it comes to getting it right.

“What I think is impressive is that they kind of scrutinize every vote you know I think that’s very important what people do this for. They vote for a reason,” said Coslett. 

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