LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The November General Election is fast approaching, and while it is still more than a month away, election officials across the region say they have no time to waste.
They are working to ensure a safe and accurate election, and Luzerne County is once again getting a lot of attention because of issues in recent elections.
There’s no doubt about it that election officials in Luzerne County know they are under the public microscope. They say they are up to the challenge and that voters can be confident in a safe, and most importantly, accurate election.
Long before voters cast votes at the county’s electronic voting machines, and long before the votes are even counted, the machines are checked out inside and out.
“We’re basically making sure that all the equipment recording your votes correctly tallying the votes correctly. Making sure that every piece of equipment that we use is set up and ready to go for election day,” explained Emily Cook, operations manager at the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections.
Luzerne County has faced issues in recent years in the election process, including mail-in ballots mistakenly thrown into the trash and mislabeled electronic ballots on some voting machines, but Luzerne County Bureau of Election Officials say that is all in the past.
“It is a big job. We have 708 ballot-marking devices in the county. We’re using 186 precinct scanners. Every machine that we test that you see on election day is tested to be sure that it is working correctly, accurately and that everything is functioning the way it’s expected to,” added Cook.
The Luzerne County Bureau of Elections has also had a change in leadership at the office. A new director has to be selected. The Board of Elections, a citizen’s board that oversees the operations of the bureau, says the public need not be concerned.
“The team that’s in the election bureau right now is excellent. There’s a lot of experience within the team that’s in place at the time. There are a lot of checks and balances,” said Denise Williams, chairperson of the Luzerne County Board of Elections.
“We have very good people in the bureau. They are experienced. Any volunteers that we’ve had there are also very experienced. People know what they are doing. They are to function even though we don’t have a director right now,” described Audrey Serniak, secretary of the Luzerne County Board of Elections.
The search continues for a director of the bureau of elections.
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website and the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections’ website.