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Election investigation and replacing county manager in Luzerne County

The county appointed a new manager in June, and now they're going to have to do that again, while getting to the bottom of what happened at the polls on Tuesday.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Picking a new county manager is a process Luzerne County Council members are all too familiar with.

"This is my fourth time," said council member Tim McGinley. "I'm the longest-serving member of council, and I'm serving my 11th year right now."

The current manager, Randy Robertson, started in June, but during a heated county council meeting on Wednesday, Robertson resigned.

He cited family obligations, but the announcement came less than 24 hours after a tumultuous Election Day for the county.

Several polling places ran out of the paper needed for voters to properly cast their ballots. Judges of elections said that the paper problems were just one of many issues.

Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith says it all boils down to bad leadership.

"The issue here is that we had no paper. That's not legislative; that's just simple, common-sense managerial leadership. We had no leadership. We had a manager who let the bureau go by themselves, two people working in the bureau who are just there four months. It's just not the way you do business," said Griffith.

The Luzerne County district attorney said on Thursday that his office has received complaints about some voting irregularities, including possible illegal voting, and they will be investigated.

Griffith says he wants to investigate, too, and he's calling on the DA, the election bureau and board, and the county council to work with him.

"I would like to work collaboratively with those four branches to get this investigation done and done properly so we can find out where the problems are, identify them, get council to make policy and procedure so we can move forward with an honest and great election," Griffith said.

Council member McGinley echoed the need for an investigation

"I think next week you'll see some kind of official action of the council."

Many voters in the precincts that ran out of paper had to cast a provisional ballot.

When we went to the Bureau of Elections on Thursday, Beth McBride, the acting director, told us she could not comment on Tuesday's issues but said that the provisional ballots were being counted and the results should be on the county's website on Friday.

McBride also said any voter who fears their vote was not counted can call the election bureau and ask a worker to verify that the ballot was counted.

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