LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There is more fallout in the aftermath of the now infamous paper ballot shortage in Luzerne County on Election Day in November 2022.
Two voters have filed a federal lawsuit against Luzerne County Officials for claiming their constitutional rights were violated when they could not cast a vote that day.
The two voters say they are hoping to have a federal judge issue some type of ruling that will prevent something like this paper shortage from happening again.
“Well the genesis comes out of the 2022 General Election which was a complete disaster by the administration,” said Attorney Wally Zimolong, representing the voters.
So says the lawyer representing two voters, one who lives in the Shickshinny area and the other in the Freeland area.
“Two of the voters are the plaintiffs in this case. They were told to come back one, two, three times. Eventually, they could not come back any further,” added Zimolong.
Attorney Wally Zimolong is handling the lawsuit for those two voters. It is aimed at the county in general, the election board, and the election bureau.
“The First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution say everyone has a right to vote and not to be unduly encumbered to exercise that vote,” Zimolong continued.
The lawsuit highlights how a Luzerne County Judge issued an order that day to extend voting hours to 10:00 p.m.
Some 40 polling places did not have enough paper and that forced many voters, the total of which is still unknown, to be asked to return to vote.
It’s also unknown how many voters never did cast a vote that day because they could not return to the polling place. The shortage led to a Congressional hearing in Washington two weeks ago, and the Luzerne County District Attorney launched an investigation into the shortage. That probe is ongoing.
“It’s not symbolic at all. We are asking a judge for a mandatory injunction which would compel the county going forward to make sure they do not deny the right to vote to any person to make sure they comply with the Pennsylvania Election Code and the administration to make sure that there is election officials are adequately trained,” Zimolong said.
Phyllis Monda says she supports the lawsuit but is hopeful that Luzerne County can right the ship when it comes to running elections.
I think we can get together again. I mean Luzerne County has been through a rough patch but all they have to do is get fully prepared and once the voters see that they’ll go in there with confidence without a problem,” said Monda.
The lawsuit also calls for nominal financial penalties. It’s still unclear what a federal order would look like as it pertains to the Luzerne County Election Process.
County officials say they cannot comment on pending litigation. The county attorney did say that the county’s insurance carrier will appoint a law firm to handle the lawsuit.
You can read the full lawsuit in the file below.