Agreement reached in primary election voting machine issue

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Luzerne County Republican and Democrat Parties have reached an agreement, avoiding a court injunction over voting machine issues.

Earlier in the day, voters reported that some county voting machines were labeling all ballots as Democrat regardless of the voter’s party. In response, Luzerne County Republican Party Chairman Justin Behrens told Eyewitness News on Tuesday afternoon they planned to file a court injunction against the Luzerne County Election Board calling for the impounding of all voting machines and any equipment associated with the voting machines.

Luzerne County Democratic Party officials met with Republican Party officials and Luzerne County Election officials at the Luzerne County Courthouse to work out an agreement regarding the proposed court injunction from the Luzerne County GOP, according to representatives from both parties as well as Luzerne County Election Boards officials.

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.

“We decided what we’re going to do is when the voting is done and the counts are in, we’re going to have all of the machines and all the equipment locked and secured, so if we want to investigate or look into it we have the right to do that,” Behrens said. “The second thing that is out there is that they’re going to make a public announcement to tell people to come on out and vote, make sure you vote, we made sure everything is secure and. The third thing that is done is if anyone comes in to vote and they feel that they’re not safe enough to vote on the machine, they can vote by paper ballot and not have to worry about having proof or anything like that, they can just vote through the machine or through paper ballot.”

Any voter who left their polling place Tuesday and did not vote is being asked to return to their polling place and vote by paper ballot. Also, anyone who voted by machine and is concerned about the vote is also asked to contact the Luzerne County Election Board if they have any questions.

“Come back and vote. It is important that they get their vote out there and get that casted because it that’s the most sacred thing they have in this country, is that vote. So, if they feel disenfranchised, they felt like ‘hey you know this isn’t for me’, something fishy is here, something is wrong, please come out and vote, we need that vote,” Behrans said.

County officials say those votes will be counted. The voting machines will be secured after Tuesday night’s election and be audited as part of the vote certification process.

The chairpersons of both the county Democrat and Republican parties say they are pleased with the agreement. Luzerne County Judge Jenifer Rogers will hold a hearing Tuesday afternoon to finalize the agreement and put it on public record.

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