WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — According to state and local election officials, expect delays in final vote counts in many races Tuesday night.
Some final tallies may not be available until Wednesday or later. It’s all due to the huge response to the first ever vote-by-mail option in Pennsylvania.
The vote-by-mail ballots will be counted in the Bureau of Election Office in county-owned Penn Place office building. County officials tell Eyewitness News they expect it to be a long night because of the large number of ballots that must be counted.
“Unfortunately we will not have the final count this evening on election night. It’s just too many of the mail-in ballots that have to be counted,” said Dave Pedri, Luzerne County Manager.
As many as 53,000 ballots are expected.
“These votes have to be opened up one envelope at a time. A second envelope opened up, it had to be sorted. They have to be scanned and state says we can’t start counting until 8 p.m.,” said Pedri.
Eyewitness News asked Pedri how long will the count will go on Tuesday night.
“We will get as far as we possibly can by a certain time tonight. We will be here over this week. We want to make sure the public knows every single vote will be counted,” Pedri said.
Election officials believe the vote-by-mail option was a contributing factor which led to a low turnout at the polls.
“25 percent of Luzerne County voters already voted by mail, that’s about average turnout on a good year… so the people showing up today, it’s gravy,” said poll worker Mario Romanelli.
County officials were allowed by state law to pre-canvas the ballots at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, to get them ready to be counted. But the counting cannot not start until after the polls close at 8 p.m.
We will be here tonight as the votes will be counted as well as those cast at the polling places and the vote by mail ballots.