Issues affecting Republican ballots in Luzerne County

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Voting machines across Luzerne County are experiencing issues with Republican ballots on primary day.

Eyewitness News has received numerous calls from concerned citizens reporting issues with voting machines improperly labeling Republican ballots as Democrat.

Carl Romanelli, a judge with Luzerne County Board of Elections, Wilkes-Barre City, Ward 13, confirmed with Eyewitness News that issues were reported this morning and that they are working to correct them.

“Because it’s a primary, Democrats and Republicans or independent non-partisans, have a different ballot. When you got into the ballot marking devices, the header on all of the ballots indicates that it’s a democratic ballot, but then when you proceed to the actual ballot itself, it is the proper ballot for the voter’s party.  And when the ballot is printed, it shows that it is in fact the proper ballot,” Romanelli said.

Another poll worker with the Luzerne County Board of Elections, who wished to remain anonymous, told Eyewitness News that all ballots in the system were displaying as a Democrat ballot on the screen, regardless of what party was chosen. Once a Republican ballot was filled out and printed, however, it would say Republican on top.

A release from Bob Morgan, Director of Elections in Luzerne County, states:

“Due to a coding error the Republican primary ballot in today’s Municipal Primary election contains an error in the header when displayed on the viewing screen. This error occurred during vendor programming of the device and appears on Republican ballots countywide. The ballot correctly shows Republican candidates, however, the header of the ballot says “Democrat.” The function of the device has been thoroughly reviewed and tested and the error appears on the screen only. The ballot prints correctly with the Republican header and contains only Republican primary race results. Republicans also have the option to vote with a provisional ballot that will be later reviewed by the Luzerne County Elections Board should they choose not to utilize the machines.

We wish to assure all voters that their ballots will be correctly counted. To ensure proper communication of this situation a sign is being placed in each polling place by the judge of election today and posted on the County website. Elections staff and poll workers are working addressing the issue machine to machine throughout the County.”

While the issue persisted, voters who wished to were able to fill out a paper ballot which will be counted later tonight.

This is an ongoing story and Eyewitness News will update this with more information as it becomes available.

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