Lackawanna County prepares for upcoming primary

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — More than one million Pennsylvanians have registered to vote by mail for the upcoming June 2nd primary.

In Lackawanna County, election officials are hard at work making sure the voters’ voices are heard. Officials have been left swamped between mail-in applications, safe polling location planning and manning the polls with brand new voting machines.

“We’re trying to juggle everything together,” Marion Medalis, Director of Lackawanna County Elections told Eyewitness News.

It’s all hands on deck for elections in Lackawanna County. Thanks to Act 77 and the coronavirus pandemic, record numbers of applications are flooding in across the commonwealth to vote from home and Lackawanna County is no exception.

There are currently 18,000 applications, according to Medalis and the work keeps rolling in.

“Yesterday, when we left, we put a big dent in our online applications. When we came in this morning there was an additional 500. It never stops,” Medalis said.

Expecting more than 30,000 in total by the May 26th deadline, there’s no time to waste. Medalis says the work is piling up as new voting machine training is taking place, plans to possibly restructure polling places come underway, and the county looks to hire employees for those polling places.

“We are in the process of contacting all of our judge of elections to make sure they will still be working on Election Day,” Medalis said.

It’s an uphill battle on multiple fronts to make sure that Lackawanna County elections go off without a hitch. There’s also a confidence in the building because failure is not an option.

County Commissioner Jerry Notarianni applauds the effort at the headquarters while trying to make sure other issues are met.

“Everyone is doing a great job,” Notarianni said. “Everyone’s working real hard and we’ve got lots going on here. Everyone is busy.”

Meanwhile, the commissioners are now working on funding.

“Money is an issue. As it is, this is an expensive operation and it got more expensive because of the coronavirus,” Notarianni said.

Lackawanna County Commissioners will meet Wednesday to discuss programs and other outlets to avoid burdening the taxpayers. Their main message is apply early and make sure you get to vote.

The deadline for the mail-in applications is May 26th but the elections staff is urging voters who want to stay away from the polling places not to wait until the last minute.

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