WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The May Primaries are right around the corner and preparations are underway in Luzerne County.
However, questions and concerns still remain from the paper ballot shortage that plagued polling places in November and gained national attention.
The paper shortage led to a congressional hearing last week.
The Luzerne County Board of Elections hosted an hours-long public meeting Wednesday night.
It’s the first time the board gathered since last week’s Congressional Hearing in Washington about the paper ballot shortage.
“What is wrong here? What is wrong,” said Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith.
Tensions ran high during a Luzerne County Board of Elections meeting Wednesday night.
Many topics pertaining to the upcoming May Primary Election were discussed, including the use of paper ballots at the polls.
“The Bureau presented it at our last meeting, it was on our agenda and they shared with us that they wanted to use the paper, paper ballots instead of the ballot marking devices. It would save time on the front end, we were told,” said Luzerne County Board of Elections and Registration Chair Denise Williams.
The lack of paper ballots on November General Election Day 2022 in Luzerne County went before federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. last week.
While many questions still remain unanswered as the Luzerne County District Attorney investigates, some voters voiced their concerns about election integrity.
“If I was a candidate running for election in this primary, I would be very, very nervous. The whole purpose of election integrity grant was for election integrity, we’re not having election integrity,” said Griffith.
“We fully expect the Election Board and Bureau to consider election integrity as its number one priority, and particularly after the gross negligence in administering several elections, said Dallas Township resident Robin Coshan.
Williams says reviewing election protocols on the long list of agenda items was intentional, in the hopes of raising awareness.
“Everybody’s a little nervous about what happened, so there was a lot of explaining by the Bureau’s part on what’s gonna happen, how this is going to go, how the process is going to go, for the poll workers, for the voters,” said Williams.
On Wednesday, The Board of Elections voted to approve the 2023 Primary Election ballot. They will host another public meeting in two weeks.