WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Another controversy unfolds at the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections today. In recent months, they have been dealing with a federal investigation into the mishandling of military ballots. Just yesterday, questions arose about how the bureau handled early in-person voting. And now there is yet another situation.
This controversy involves the drop box for mail in ballots. That box is located inside the county’s Penn Place office building.
“We’re not going to put our ballot in there. It’s just overfilled,” said Bob Jones of Dupont.
And that’s what we heard from at least a dozen voters today who came to the Luzerne County Penn Place office building to drop their mail-in ballots.
“The ballot box is pretty full over there, I mean its right up to the top. It needs to be emptied periodically by someone otherwise they are going to be falling out,” said Jones.
Allison Wydawski from Nanticoke refused to drop her ballot in the box until it was emptied—which did happen as we were working on this report.
Mehalshick: “Why didn’t you put it in the box?”
Wydawski: “I’m concerned because the box is really full and I’m afraid if I put it in there and somebody else tried to put something on top it may spill out. The hole is quite large so I think there is a possibility for the ballot to come out, fall on the floor, get stepped on, picked up maybe thrown into the trash. I want my vote to count.”
County Manager Dave Pedri says they are receiving so many mail-in ballots the box fills up very quickly.
“We are always going to look at what we can do better. This is the first time we’ve ever had walk-in voting here in Luzerne County. Over 1,000 people took advantage of it—that is a success. We are going to learn from it and get better.”
Pedri tells Eyewitness News that this was the first time they have had complaints about the ballot drop box and he insists it will be the last time.
Luzerne County sent out nearly 70,000 mail in ballots. So far, about 45,000 have been returned. 3 million mail-in ballots have been sent out statewide.