Luzerne County Director of Elections points to flaws with voting machines

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Republican and non-partisan voters at Luzerne County polls Tuesday encountered issues while trying to vote.

Voters were noticing incorrect labeling on electronic ballots in Luzerne County. Regardless of party, every voter was seeing a ballot labeled as democratic primary on the first screen.

“Unfortunately, this morning, the machines were all shut down and people were losing their patience and leaving,” a voter from Exeter said.

The confusion even led some voters to wonder whether their votes would be counted.

“It’s disheartenening. When you get a person who gets elected in, did they truly get elected in? That’s the question, and no one can truly answer that,” voter Chris Harding said.

Eyewitness News brought those concerns to Luzerne County Election Officials to get some answers about what was happening.

Officials at several voting locations confirmed ballots labeled as Democrat were popping up on the screen regardless of the voter’s party registration. But workers say when the Republican ballots are printed, they do say Republican on the top.

Luzerne County Director of Elections Bob Morgan says the issue didn’t originate here in northeastern Pennsylvania. He told us several times, it was a problem with coding in the voting machines.

“It took us about probably five weeks. We gave a final product to Dominion. There is no evidence of any of this problem on the mail-in ballots which were produced from that file. We’re still working with Dominion to get an explanation as to how this coding error occurred. They were as surprised about it as we were,” Morgan said.

Eyewitness News asked Morgan whether there was any possibility Luzerne County could be at fault.

We asked, “In that five-week process, is there any possibility it could have been on your end and not theirs?” Morgan responded, “no.”

Morgan says they’re doing everything they can to combat the issue. He is encouraging everyone who has not yet voted to go to their polling place, which will remain open until 8:00 p.m.

“We’re doing signs, we’ve contacted each of the judges of elections. We’ve asked them to place a sign at their voting place. We’re giving Republican voters the opportunity to vote by provisional or emergency ballot if they choose.”

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.”

Tuesday morning’s confusion led Luzerne County GOP leaders to take their concerns to court. Luzerne County Chief Solicitor Romilda Crocamo tells Eyewitness News an agreement has been reached to allow for the election to continue. That agreement was approved by a Luzerne County judge.

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