LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Luzerne County will be the focus of a congressional hearing in Washington next week.

It all has to do with a paper shortage in the 2022 November General Election. That paper shortage led to extended voting hours and concerns many voters were disenfranchised.

The hearing itself is raising questions and concerns from federal lawmakers and Luzerne County officials, especially regarding the timing of the hearing next week. All agree they want answers.

“I think it’s the right thing. We should know what happened. There wasn’t enough paper and it doesn’t make sense, let’s find out,” said Wilkes-Barre resident Gail Morris.

That is what many voters have been saying since last November when Luzerne County ran out of paper on Election Day.

The Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into the paper shortage shortly after the election. The results of the investigation have not yet been released.

The full Congressional Committee on House Administration has scheduled a hearing Tuesday in Washington to look into the paper shortage.

The bi-partisan committee has invited several Luzerne County officials to voluntarily give testimony.

Including Denise Williams, chairperson of the election board that oversees the election bureau, and former acting director of the election bureau, Beth Gilbert McBride, and Kendra Radle, chair of the Luzerne County Council.

Congressman Dan Meuser, who is not a committee member, says he will be at that hearing.

“The people of Pennsylvania want to simply know what happened, not pointing fingers at somebody who was involved in something criminal or this was deliberate. They just want to know what happened, how did it occur?” stated Meuser.

But Democrat Congressman Matt Cartwright is questioning the timing and the title of the hearing.

“Well of course we need an investigation and a hearing in Washington is also good, but it probably ought to wait until the actual investigation is complete. Luzerne County has a very capable D.S. and he is conducting that investigation. What we should not do is name the hearing beforehand ‘Government voter suppression’ and grandstand about it without any basis for such a thing,” Cartwright expressed.

Acting Luzerne County Manager Brian Swetz also issued a public statement regarding the hearing.

He too raises the question of timing as well as other concerns.

“It would be preferable if the hearing were conducted after the Luzerne County District Attorney’s report has been finalized,” explained Swetz.

Eyewitness News also spoke with Denise Williams who says the election board is not under the supervision of the county manager.

She says that based on the advice of the board’s solicitor, she will not provide written testimony nor will she attend the meeting.

Williams says she does not want her written comments to be taken out of context.