WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — State lawmakers are working to provide more resources to counties across the commonwealth to streamline the vote by mail process as they prepare for a surge in ballots.
Luzerne County received about 40,000 vote by mail ballots in the June Primary Election and by most accounts the process worked well but it took Bureau of Election workers nearly four days to count all of the mailed in ballots. Similar delays were in many of the state’s counties.
Now, State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D, District 121) is now working with other lawmakers and state officials to help counties with extra vote counting scanners and manpower. He is hoping to speed up the process while at the same time maintain the integrity of the election results.
“So we are now practicing arithmetic problem. How many people do we need working for how many hours with what kind of equipment in order to get the results in as fast as possible,” Pashinski told Eyewitness News.
Pashinski tells Eyewitness News that money is needed to make that happen. But theses days money is tight.
“I’m sure you are aware on here national basis that’s part of the discussion, that the states need more money to be able to pay more people to do the job and also provide the kind of machinery that will allow that job to be concluded accurately and in a time it manner,” he said.
Both Pashinski and Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri say in lieu of finding that money, there could be a change in the law that would allow vote by mail ballots to be processed sooner than the current 7 AM on Election Day. Right now, the ballots are just prepared to be counted ahead of time to quicken the process.
“We got to change that pidgin of the law to allow for more effective processing of these ballots,” Pedri said.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections in the Commonwealth, more than 1.2 million people cast their votes by mail in the June primary.
State election officials tell Eyewitness News that there were very few reports of suspected fraud as it pertains to mail-in ballots.