Lackawanna County prepares to count large number of mail-in ballots

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DICKSON CITY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary election is looking much different than years past as thousands mail in their ballots to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

At the government center at the globe, they have been counting mail-in ballots since 9 a.m. Eyewitness News spoke to poll workers about the difference in this election day.

On a typical election day, polling places are busy with voters. But it’s a different sight Tuesday at many locations around NEPA, including the polling place at Eagle Hose Company #1 in Dickson City.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic; lines are short for in-person voting. Instead, more than 30,000 votes in Lackawanna county were mailed in.
Brian Jeffers, Lackawanna County Chief of Staff, says counting those ballots will be a time-consuming process due to the high number that were sent in.

“We really want to stay here to get the number in tonight so everyone has the information tomorrow. But we don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that. You know?” Jeffers said.

Though thousands mailed in their ballots, polling places and workers like Tonisha Groves, are still prepared for those coming inside to vote.

“We have masks, hand sanitizer, alcohol, gloves, and one way in and one way out,” Groves said.

Some voters, like Yvette Orsini, say not even a pandemic can stop them from casting their ballot.

“It’s very important. I wanted to do it in person. I sent in for the mail-in ballot but I never got it. So I said, that’s okay, I’ll come in person,” Orsini said.

Though turn-out is lower than normal, poll workers are still hoping everyone gets out makes their voice heard.

“The difference is with the coronavirus we have to be somewhere else. I’m just praying and hoping that everyone comes out like they normally do because being in a different location i hope we have just as many voters as we usually do,” says Groves.

The polling places will be open until 8 p.m. If you have not dropped off your mail-in ballot you have until 8 p.m. to drop it off as well.

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