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I-Team: County officials call for accountability after primary election ballot issue

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — There are calls for an internal investigation into the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections in the aftermath of the incorrect labeling on electronic ballots in the county.

Every voter, regardless of party, was seeing a ballot labeled as “official Democratic ballot” on the first screen when voting in Tuesday’s primary election.

Several county council members say they want to know how this incorrect labeling could have taken place without being picked up somewhere in the process of setting up these electronic machines.

The I-Team also learned Wednesday that the Luzerne County Election Board will hold a special public meeting to address questions and concerns about the matter.

“So, people are upset. People are very upset and we just want to make sure the election is fair. It’s not a lot to ask,” said Harry Haas, Luzerne County Council Member

The controversy unfolded minutes after the polls opened in Luzerne County Tuesday morning. Every voter was seeing the words Official Democratic Ballot on the first screen.

It led to a lot of confusion. Many voters say they simply walked out of their polling places. Others say they voted but were concerned if their vote would be counted.

Luzerne County Director of Elections, Bob Morgan, told Eyewitness News the problem was caused by a coding error that originated from the company hired to supply the machine’s dominion voting systems.

Morgan says that the coding error led to the incorrect labeling, but questions remain on Wednesday: why wasn’t the error caught by someone in the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections?

The I-Team posed that question to Morgan Tuesday night.

“Ideally it should have yes. Unfortunately, what happened was only a header on the Republican ballot. There were no indications in any other spots,” said Morgan.

The Luzerne County Council formed a special election bureau inquiry committee after the military ballot incident to review the operations of the election bureau.

Haas, a member of the committee, says this latest incident must also be investigated.

“I’m just disappointed because I was expecting to have the election go off without a hitch. The fact that we have one party flashing up when another one should be another party’s ballot it’s inexcusable,” said Hass.

Luzerne County Republican Party chairman Justin Behrens says they too want more answers as to how this happened.

“To have this happen again, a second time, now a third time… We need to have accountability. Someone needs to be responsible for what’s going on here,” said Behrens

Luzerne County’s election director has confirmed that there is a ballot screen error that is confined to the header on the viewing screen of the machine, and that all ballots are printing correctly with the Republican header and the Republican primary election races.

Dominion Voting Systems released the following statement to Eyewitness News:

“Luzerne County’s election director has confirmed that there is a ballot screen error that is confined to the header on the viewing screen of the machine, and that all ballots are printing correctly with the Republican header and the Republican primary election races. As the county has reassured the voting public, all ballots will be correctly counted.  We regret any confusion this has caused.”

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