WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Less than a week after ballot confusion in Luzerne County, lawmakers and the voting system maker got together to figure out what went wrong.
Luzerne County election bureau, board, contributing factors that resulted in mislabeling of 2021 primary election ballot.
“Last week’s election a data entry error occurred during the ballot set-up process that resulted in the mislabeling of the primary election ballot on the touch-screens only,” said Nicole Nollette, Executive VP of Operations Dominion.
Nollette said it was a human error that led to republican electronic ballots being labeled “democrat” on the header of the viewing screen on Tuesday not a coding error, or issue with the system.
The printed ballots were labeled correctly but Republican voters say they were disenfranchised by the error, believing their vote wouldn’t count.
“We had many many voters in the republican party who did not vote because they were frustrated, they were angry. They felt that this what we call now human error, coding error whatever it was the perception is there,” said Justin Behrens.
The biggest problem for elections officials is how to regain trust of Luzerne County voters.
Election board members Missy Thomas and Richard Nardone suggested hiring a third party to conduct a forensic audit, perhaps at Dominion’s expense.
But Board Chair Denise Williams says dominion isn’t entirely to blame, a number of factors contributed to this failure.
She believes the county relies on Dominion to complete programming and logic and accuracy testing on the machines prior to the election.
Williams feels resources are limited, not enough I.T. Support or proper training for poll workers. As well as, officials with the bureau of elections aren’t personally reviewing the machines.
“These machines should have been tested, they should have been opened. Based on the fact that the primary election went in a disaster, the November election went in a disaster, and now we’re in a primary election again that went in a disaster,” said Walter Griffith a Councilman.
The board of elections oversees the election bureau and can make recommendations.
Williams says she wants to see the board work closely with the bureau over the next six months evaluating and reviewing all aspects of the election process.
Put in place written policies and procedures, timelines, checklists and improved training for all aspects of the elections.