WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Results are still coming in from Tuesday’s primary election. One county, yet again, had issues when the polls opened.
“There would be girls with calculators around the entire courthouse and we would go around with giant ballots and every time say each person’s name and how many votes they have. That was the process many, many years ago,” said Denise Shimko who is with the Luzerne County Board of Elections.
How your vote gets counted here in Luzerne county looks much different than it did 30 years ago.
“We got the mail-in voting process, which I totally agree with, but it has complicated things drastically. There’s a lot of moving parts. We’ve also been dealing with COVID, so it’s just been a constant learning process, a constant process of getting things more efficient and counting and how we do things,” said Luzerne County Board of Elections worker, Audrey Serniak.
Things have changed as technology advanced over the decades including how Luzerne County adapted to changes during the pandemic.
Last year, the election bureau had 30 to 35 county employees to count ballots, which made the process quick.
“We were able to finish both of those elections with that amount of help probably by 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. on election day,” said Luzerne County Board of Elections Chairperson, Denise Williams.
But this year is looking a little different as less than half of the number of employees count around 18,000 ballots. That lack of staffing forced them to put a pause on counting Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. with a little over 11,000 ballots to go. But, despite all challenges, the Luzerne County Board of Elections aims to remain transparent.
“There is a public viewing area here for anyone who would like to come and observe the process. All of the board members are here. It’s a very active board. We have a very dedicated board. Any of them would be willing to give anybody here an overview if they stopped in of the process in what’s happening here, they’re welcome to stop in,” said Williams.
Election officials say they expect the ballots in Luzerne County to be counted throughout Wednesday and possibly into Thursday.