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I-Team: Luzerne County District Attorney to investigate primary election issues

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office is now investigating problems that arose with the county’s election system during the May primary election.

Questions and concerns remain more than a week after the election. Much of it has to do with the mislabeling of electronic ballots on voting machines.

The county council requested the investigation by the district attorney’s office. They say they are not satisfied by the answers they have been getting about problems that took place on Election Day.

“Not this again! That’s all. Just get it straightened out!” said Barry Snyder of Wilkes-Barre.

That’s how Snyder said he reacted when he heard about problems on Election Day with mislabeled electronic ballots. He and his wife Cathy are glad to hear that the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office is now involved in the case.

“I do hope that training is better, and they rectify it because people get so angry over these things,” Cathy said.

The key issues on May 18th were mislabeled electronic ballots. An official for the company that produced the ballots — Dominion Voting Systems — told county officials at a special election board meeting on Monday that it was human error. That error was Republican ballots were labeled “Democrat” on the header of the viewing screen.

Not a coding error or issue with the system, as was first reported by Luzerne County election officials. The printed ballots were labeled correctly. Many Republicans say they were confused at the polling places and felt disenfranchised. So county council wants the district attorney to investigate.

“We just want to make sure we understand exactly what happened because there are conflicting reports. Originally the election bureau said coding error. Dominion machines vendor said it was human error. So we want to make sure we have clarity here,” said Harry Haas, Luzerne County council member.

The chairman of the Luzerne County Republican Party wants more answers as well.

“The Republican voters have been disenfranchised. We have multiple complaints that have come to us saying they didn’t get a chance to vote. They didn’t feel confident with the voting process,” said Justin Behrens, chairman of the Luzerne County GOP.

“In this case our goal is to determine what the facts are. Release more facts if indeed criminal conduct didn’t occur so people can be reassured. These are the facts we found, this is what was supposed to happen, this is what you need to know,” Sam Sanguedolce, Luzerne County District Attorney said.

DA Sanguedolce tells the I-Team it’s about making sure that if problems exist in the election bureau theyare resolved. Sangeudolce says that officials from the Luzerne County Election Bureau are cooperating with the investigation.

The I-Team reached out to the Director of the Election Bureau Robert Morgan. He says now he has no comment. A spokesperson for Dominion Voting Systems also told the I-Team the company has no comment on the pending investigation. The DA was not sure how long the investigation would take to complete.

Andy Mehalshick Eyewitness News

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