WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — From your local election headquarters, Thursday is the first day voters in Pennsylvania can vote in person by using the mail-in ballots. It’s just one of three options voters have in this election to cast their vote.
Election officials say they were very busy processing in-person mail-in ballots. Luzerne County workers put up two large signs on Penn Place Building Thursday. Plus, several parking places near Penn Place are reserved for people who want to vote in person or drop off their completed mail-in ballot. The drop box for completed mail-in ballots is in the lobby of the building.
“First off, our lock boxes are secure. They can’t be moved. They are under 24-hour-a-day surveillance. They are actually in front of the sheriff’s department outside watching them as well,” Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri said.
Starting Thursday, people can vote by mail-in person. They can go into the election bureau office, request a mail-in ballot application, fill it out and give it to an election worker who will then give them a ballot. The voter will go into a secluded area, cast their vote and put it into a lock box.
“It’s completely private. Then it’s locked in a box out with other ballots we received in the mail. They will not be opened until we can begin pre-canvassing on Election Day at 7 a.m.,” Shelby Watchilla, Director of the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections, said.
Bob Caruso was the first person in the history of Luzerne County to vote in person with a mail-in ballot.
“Well, it’s a wonderful thing. I took advantage of the new way to vote in Pennsylvania,” Caruso said.
Ricardo Lima stopped by to ask what was going on. He says he prefers to vote in person at his polling place.
“I know the people are going to be safe for everyone so I trust the people. I will vote in person,” Lima said.
Watchilla urges people who have already sent in an application for a vote by mail ballot NOT to vote in person. They will receive their ballot shortly.
And of course, voters can still vote in person at their usual polling place.