New bureau of elections director starts in Luzerne County

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There is a new director running the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections. A bureau that has faced some serious challenges in recent elections.

Those issues include mail-in ballots with incorrect candidate names, mislabeled electronic ballots, and military ballots mistakenly thrown into the trash.

His name is Michael Susek the 43-year-old Luzerne County resident tells Eyewitness News, regaining the trust of the voters, is job one.

Micheal Susek, the new Director of the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections says he welcomes the opportunity to ensure safe, secure, and accurate elections in Luzerne County.

“I think voters can know I’m incredibly passionate and experienced in the field. I love working in local government. I hold the right to vote in the highest regard. Earning their trust over a period of time is a huge priority of mine,” Micheal Susek, Director of Luzerne County Bureau of Elections.

Susek takes over a Bureau of Elections that has had well-documented issues in recent elections.

Including mail-in ballots with the incorrect names of candidates, mislabeled electronic ballots, and military ballots, mistakenly thrown into the trash. Susek says many of those problems can be resolved.

“Our main goal for next coming weeks and months we want to develop a standard set of operating procedures. That’s something that’s been missing in the department. As you know there’s been a lot of turnover. There’s a lot of institutional memory but not enough documentation we think,” said Susek.

Susek also wants to focus on the overall security of the election, both before and after votes are cast.

“We’re also going to be working on our chain of custody processes. The county has excellent physical security for the voting system. We need to improve the chain of custody so that we can really establish for the public how the equipment is accounted for throughout the year,” Susek said.

But he insists, all of this starts with people.

“My first priority is developing good relationships. What’s going to be critical is building relationships with the Board of Elections. The local political parties the County Manager’s Office Staff and key stakeholders,” said Susek.

Susek tells Eyewitness News he understands that he must regain the trust of many voters in the County Bureau of Elections.

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