LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The questions are many, but the answers are few, concerning what led to a paper shortage in the Luzerne County Election Bureau.
A judge extended voting hours Tuesday night to 10:00 p.m., so voters who were turned away from their polling place, earlier in the day, still had a chance to vote.
Eyewitness News was live outside the Luzerne County Penn Place Office Building where the offices for the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections are located on the third floor.
Right now provisional ballots are being ‘adjudicated.’ Some voters went to the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections looking for answers. They wanted to know how this could possibly happen.
“We have gone through a lot of headaches in Luzerne County in the national news. We have another black eye,” said Theodore Fitzgerald of Wilkes-Barre.
Theodore Fitzgerald went seeking answers from the Luzerne County Board of Elections on Wednesday.
The board is ‘adjudicating’ provisional ballots. This basically means they’re reviewing them to see which ones can be counted and which ballots could not be counted because they did not meet state law requirements.
The Election Board oversees the Election Bureau and voters went to them saying they’re frustrated by what they say is problem after problem, in recent years with elections in Luzerne County.
Deborah Jordan is a poll worker from Sugarloaf Township and says she did not get any help from county officials to deal with the paper shortage.
“Can you please going forward make sure that you take the time to have your supplies? Even as a homeowner I make sure I have paper products. I make sure I have food. You can’t run out of something that was no surprise. You knew the election was going to happen obviously you need to have your supplies,” Deborah Jordan explained.
Kathleen Gallagher is an attorney for the Republican National Committee (RNC).
“What is of particular concern to my clients is the issue of how people were voting yesterday. If Pennsylvania needs anything it needs the electorate as we’ve learned over the course, to be able to believe in the transparency of its elections and the lack of disenfranchisement of voters,” Kathleen Gallagher added.
County council member John Lombardo attended the meeting and he says the council wants answers.
“You know when you’re at each precinct, you know how many registered voters are typically at that precinct. You know how many registered voters could potentially go to that precinct. So common sense would tell you that you should have exactly that number of pieces of paper. The very least at that polling place,” John Lombardo continued.
The overall question from Wednesday was “Why do issues arise so often in Luzerne county?”
“We have to clean this up. We can’t keep doing the same mistakes over and over and have citizens trust the Election Bureau, the Election Board,” Fitzgerald continued.
Members of the Election Board did not comment on these concerns at the meeting. They told those in attendance, including Eyewitness News, that we can make an appointment and they would talk about the situation.
Eyewitness News spoke to County Manager Randy Roberston who said the county will be issuing more information about the paper shortage investigation shortly.