PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — From your local election headquarters, Luzerne County Election Officials say they are working to fix a problem with mail-in ballots sent to some voters in Plymouth Township.
The issue was brought to light on Thursday when county manager Romilda Crocamo sent out a news release regarding the race for Plymouth Township supervisor.
The department of state oversees elections in Pennsylvania and they are working with Luzerne County officials to resolve the problem. County officials vow to make it right.
The mail-in ballot sent to voters in Plymouth Township in the race for township supervisor, instructs voters to vote for one candidate, while it should read: ‘vote for two.”
“We are initiating a fix so that those comments get corrected for all the voters that elected to vote for them,” said Romilda Crocamo, Acting Luzerne County Manager.
Crocamo tells the I-Team that the fix involves making sure all votes will be counted.
“We are creating specific instructions for their alternative. If they want to vote by mail. We are also working with dominion to set up separate electronic voting for Plymouth Township supervisors sent and we always have the alternative of having voters in Plymouth Township vote by hand ballot,” explained Crocamo.
All of this comes in the aftermath of problems in recent elections in Luzerne County.
In November of 2020 nine military ballots were thrown into the trash. It prompted a federal investigation, no criminal wrongdoing was found. It was blamed on human error. In May of this year, electronic ballots were mislabeled, human error was determined to be the cause.
“We are doing everything we can to update, revise and reform the system that is in place,” said Crocamo.
Luzerne County Council Chairman Tim McGinley says these problems have to be fixed once and for all.
“Well, obviously I’m somewhat disappointed very much. We put a lot of effort and time to try to get a lot of things corrected going into this election and to have that type of error is very unfortunate. I feel the county has a responsibility to make those issues correct,” stated McGinley.
There are questions if this problem could have a ripple effect and impact other races. Voters want answers.
“Instructions for vote for two they have vote for one. What threw me off? Why is this all of a sudden I found they made a mistake, totally confusing,” said Al Ottensman of Plymouth Township.
Ottensman cast his vote and mailed in his ballot. Now he’s not so sure what happens next..
“That one vote I know I lost. So I don’t know how they are going to do to rectify it. Very confusing. What’s going on with the election bureau?” stated Ottensman.
“Right now what we are doing is we’re concentrating on the voters who want to vote by mail. They are the ones most directly impacted,” explained Crocamo.
“It just isn’t right. We are hoping they can fix it because again everyone is entitled to be abled to have it accurate,” said Gail Conrad, Plymouth Township Supervisor Chairman.
Township Supervisors Conrad and Jim Murphy are not on the ballot this year. But fear this problem could turn people away from voting now and in the future.
“You know we just want to try to get it straightened out. Unfortunately, we have a time frame that’s not helpful to us. Looking at a week Tuesday election is 10 days whatever it is. That they can possibly correct this I don’t know if it can be done or not,” stated Murphy.
The error will not have an impact on the township supervisor’s race. Since both are running unopposed but the concern is what impact, if any, the error could have on other races on the ballot.
“If there is a tight race a tight are like in the county something like that, Plymouth Township voters that may have a positive or negative impact there,” said Conrad.