WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — What can and should be done to address ongoing problems with the running of elections in Luzerne County?
Questions and concerns continue to be raised in the aftermath of the November election, which saw numerous problems. The Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce is investigating.
The county council members Eyewitness News spoke with say the time for excuses is over, and that it’s time to regain voter trust in the system.
The dust is beginning to settle in the aftermath of the November 8 general election, but the controversy and questions have not settled.
Voters continue to ask why can’t elections run smoothly in Luzerne County. Problems with recent elections are well documented and have been reported by Eyewitness News.
The latest is a paper shortage that led to extended voting hours on election day, other problems have also come to light, including voting machine issues.
County council member Tim McGinley says leadership at the bureau is crucial. The county has advertised for a new director of the election bureau.
“We are really looking to get somebody who will be the head of that bureau. Somebody hopefully with some experience and background that will be key to get the bureau back to where I think it should be,” McGinley said.
McGinley says experience from top to bottom has become an issue.
“It’s going to take some work and the worst thing that’s been happening over the years is the fact we are rotating many people in leadership positions over there and they don’t have the experience or background. Nothing against the people they just the fact they don’t have the experience,” McGinley continued.
Council member Brian Thornton believes that poor or lack of communication on election day was a major factor in the paper shortage and other problems.
“I kind of make the analogy the wheels came off the bus. Panic set in and there was no protocol or procedures that I know of that they properly and efficiently communicated out there to all their precinct about what to do,” said Thornton.
Several county council members suggested the possibility of the council launching its own inquiry into the problems on election day.
Thornton says he wants to wait until DA Sanguedolce completes his investigation into the paper shortage and other issues that came up on election day.
“Council needs to see his report first before we start doing another investigation. We just don’t want to repeat what he’s done and call witnesses again. just too time-consuming inefficient if a complete investigation was performed,” Thornton said.
District Attorney Sanguedolce has not given a timetable for when his investigation will be finished.