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Mail-in ballot problem in Luzerne County special election

305 voters may not have received their mail-in ballot in time to vote by mail.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — There is a special election Tuesday in the 116th Legislative District.

The seat was left empty after State Representative Tarah Toohil was elected Judge for the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County.

Now three candidates are hoping for the seat for a short, 8-month term.

About 10 percent of voters for this special election who requested mail-in ballots may not have received them in time because of what election officials are calling an error made by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

"Which is very involved in a special election, in the processing of uploading of files, sending to the bureau and then the bureau sending to the mail-in vendor and that it was realized then, in discussion with the Pennsylvania Department of State that two files had not been properly uploaded," said Denise Williams, the chair of Luzerne County Board of Elections.

Three hundred and five voters who requested a mail-in ballot were affected. Some are not getting their ballot until Friday, if at all.

There are some options for these affected voters. According to the Board of Elections, voters can:

  • Take all their mail-in ballot paperwork to the poll on Election Day, Tuesday, April 5,  and surrender it. The mail-in ballot would be "spoiled" by the Judge of Elections, and the voter may vote at the poll.
  • If the voter does not receive a mail-in ballot in the mail, the voter may go to the poll,  tell the poll worker they didn't receive their ballot, and the voter may vote provisionally at the poll. 
  • Bring their completed mail-in ballot to the Election Bureau, Penn Place Building, 20 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Wilkes-Barre, by 8 p.m. on the Special Election Day, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. There is a ballot drop box available in the front entranceway of the building, or the voter may go directly to the Election Bureau office on the second floor.
  • Deposit their completed mail-in ballot in the ballot drop box located at the Hazleton City Hall, 40 N. Church St., #1, Hazleton (ballot drop box is located inside the lower basement entranceway) by 4:00 p.m., Monday, April 4, 2022. 

If voters choose to still mail the ballots, they will still be counted if they were postmarked by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 4, and are received by the Bureau of Elections by Monday, April 11. 

"We presented the petition to request that these voters these 305 mail-in ballots be allowed to come in up until next Monday, April 11. As long as they're postmarked by today at 4," said Williams.

If you have any questions or concerns, you find contact information for the Bureau of Elections on this website.

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