LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A week out from the November general election and there’s yet another issue with Luzerne County. This time it involves voter registration cards.
Luzerne County officials have been trying right the ship after a number of problems with recent elections. But voters are noticing more mistakes.
Len Mulaski of Exeter says when he checked his mail on Saturday, he and his wife each received seven voter registration cards from the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections.
“I get it, when they change the polling place we get a new card, that’s fine. I’m old enough where that certainly isn’t the first time that’s happened. But for each one of us to get seven? And we’re not the isolated case,” Mulaski said.
He says the same thing happened to several of his neighbors. Acting Luzerne County Manager Romilda Crocamo says the county sent new registration cards based on a list provided by the state.
“We distributed that list to our administrative assistants who then printed the registration cards. Unfortunately we didn’t have a check in place or any kind of safeguards in place to make sure there weren’t any duplicates. Going forward, we will,” Crocamo said.
Crocamo says this won’t affect anyone’s registration status or their ability to vote. Mulaski says he wouldn’t have seen the mistake as anything more than waste of taxpayer money, if Luzerne County didn’t have issues with the last two elections.
Last year, nine military ballots were found in the garbage, prompting a federal investigation. In the May primary of this year, electronic ballots were accidentally mislabeled. This year, county officials have already had to correct errors with mail-in ballots.
“We’re a week and a day out from Election Day and it doesn’t portray them in a positive light,” Mulaski said.
Ahead of this upcoming election, county officials have increased training for election workers and hired a consulting firm to advise the Election Bureau.
“We are going to make all the corrections that we need to make to make sure that the elections run as smoothly as possible and that the voters and electorate have faith in the system,” Crocamo said.
Still, Mulaski’s faith in the system dwindles with each mistake. In a borough like Exeter, with a population of less than 6,000, municipal elections are determined by much smaller margins. There’s no room for error.
“It could come down, very well come down to a matter of maybe even 10 votes and every single vote should count,” Mulaski said.
Crocamo, who took on the position in July, says they implemented a more strict proofing system for the ballots as well as a notification system to instantly alert officials of any issues come Election Day.