Dozens say they were turned away for early voting in Luzerne County

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Dozens of people who showed up to vote early in person on Tuesday say they were left out in the cold.

Voters say they were turned away from the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections and were unable to cast their ballots despite showing up on time. Now, they are demanding answers.

Eyewitness News was on the scene Tuesday evening where voters say they were told by county elections officials they could not come into the bureau. The county had put out advertisements telling voters that if they were in line before 3:30 p.m. they could vote, but those left standing outside say that did not happen.

Norman Strohdach, a Wilkes-Barre resident was among those who wasn’t allowed to vote. He says the line was cut in half instead of being cut off.

“I’m really upset as are a lot of the people who I’ve been in contact with because we were basically told you can’t vote,” Strohdach told Eyewitness News. “We were in line at the appropriate time. We were told at 3:40 an official came out and said this is the end of the line.”

Eyewitness News spoke to Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri about why the county didn’t let all the people in line vote in person.

“Unfortunetly there has to be an end of the line. So, what I’m recommending to these individuals is go to the polls,” Pedri said.

While he says the situation was unfortunate, Pedri says the process is dictated by the state.

“Unfortunately the state says we have to close that process down October 27th. Most important thing everybody in that line was provided an application if they wanted one and they can go to the polls,” Pedri said.

Joyce Dombroski Gebhardt is a member of the Luzerne County Board of Elections which oversees the Election Bureau. She is among those participating in a teleconference about the controversy on Wednesday.

“I was upset for the voters in Luzerne County who were standing in line for two and a half, three hours. We are going to address it, this cannot ever happen again,” she said.

The Luzerne County Board of Elections is holding a teleconference meeting right now to discuss the controversy.

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