WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Winners in some of Tuesday’s primary election races remain undetermined or just too close to call. Wednesday Luzerne County finished counting a total of more than 18,000 mail-in ballots from the primary.
County workers rallied for two straight days, processing about a thousand mail-in ballots per hour. This year, it took longer than usual to count due to staffing shortages within the election bureau.
It was all hands on deck Wednesday at Penn Place in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Luzerne County workers were busy counting thousands of mail-in ballots they couldn’t get to on primary election night.
“There were a little over 11,000 still left. We did get some additional help today, we were really moving along, moving things quickly,” said Chair, Luzerne County Board of Elections, Denise Williams.
The delay was caused by a staffing shortage in the county election bureau that currently has less than half the number of employees as they did last year. Thanks to a combined effort, all of the 18,000 total mail-in ballots were processed by 5:00 p.m.
“It was tough but you know, when it came down, you saw everybody banding together and getting it done and the joy and the excitement of actually getting those numbers finally tabulated,” said Alyssa Fusaro who is a member of the Luzerne County Board of Elections.
She explains what happens next.
“As the ballots are processed, there are ballots that are questionable. Maybe they’re missing a date or missing a signature, or they’re sealed improperly or have a little bit of an issue,” said Fusaro. “Our job is to now look at those ballots as a board, and decide what ballots are good, what ballots won’t able to be counted.”
Members of the public can watch those decisions being made during the ballot adjudication process in person. That’s scheduled to take place Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the third-floor courtroom at Penn Place.