What to know before you head to the primary election polls

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Election day is less than 24 hours away, and local election officials are finalizing their preparations. That includes the handling of mail-in ballots and getting polling places ready for voters.

This is considered an “off-year election,” so turnout is usually much lower than during a presidential or congressional year. But election officials in Lackawanna County and Luzerne County say they are ready to go.

As the clock is winding down for the primary election, in Lackawanna County, the election officials were picking up materials.

Voting machines were delivered last week to 163 precincts in 114 locations.

As of Monday morning, the county has received about 10,000 mail-in ballots of the 15,000 that were requested.

“Tomorrow, (Tuesday morning) we’ll start canvasing the absentee and mail-in ballots at 7:30 in the morning here in the government center. And then we will start scanning those ballots tomorrow afternoon,” said Elizabeth Hopkins, director of elections.

“I think it is going to be slow (the turnout). I don’t think it is going to be that quite big of a turnout,” stated Mike Grzyboski, Throop Judge of Elections.

Lackawanna County will continue to follow CDC recommendations when it comes to COVID-19 safety measures in their polling places as will Luzerne County.

“We are going to still set up the machines in a way that allows for plenty of social distancing. Our poll workers will be wearing masks. We encourage people to continues wearing masks because we are an indoor setting,” said Bob Morgan, Luzerne County director of elections.

But mask-wearing is a personal choice.

“We cannot require people to wear masks, but I do press people to do that to protect each other, because we don’t know what everybody’s status is as far as vaccinations and things of that nature,” stated Morgan.

If you intend to vote by mail-in ballot, instead of at the polls, you only have until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

“So they have to be here physically by 8 p.m. tomorrow, so we don’t recommend mailing them. They have to be physically here in the office by 8 p.m. not postmarked. If you have your ballot, have it here by 8 p.m. so it will count,” said Erin Harvey, Luzerne County Assistant Director of Elections.

Polls will be open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

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