LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — A judge in Luzerne County has ruled that polling places in the county should remain open until 10 p.m. Tuesday because of problems with ballots at a number of locations.
The ruling comes after reports of problems at the polls in parts of Luzerne County.
Long lines of people waiting to cast their ballot Tuesday morning in Luzerne County, but it wasn't because of voter turnout. There just wasn't enough paper.
Similar issues have been reported to our newsroom in Dorrance Township and Dallas Township.
In Luzerne County, voting in person is a two-step process. Voters go to a machine that looks like an iPad, cast their vote, and their ballot is printed on a piece of paper. Then voters take that piece of paper and put it into a tabulation machine or scanner. Without the proper paper, provisional ballots were given to some voters until paper could be delivered. Many voters we spoke with were frustrated.
"It shouldn't be this way, but that's how it is. They ran out of paper. Why? I don't know," said Dominic Bechetti from Harveys Lake.
It was the same problem at several other polling places in Luzerne County, including Dorrance Township.
"While we were in there, someone had called for paper again, asking, and I said, 'Please don't give ours away. We have enough people here who would like to vote, and if you give our paper away, we won't be able to vote. That's not fair,'" said Linda Hoffman.
"That seems very odd that there's a few places around here that no paper and when it's Election Day," said Brad Spaide. "You have people, they're working second or third shift, and they can't get back to vote. And their time is usually in the morning. Well, now they can't cast their ballot."
Dan Domeracki says he was able to come back and vote in Harveys Lake when more paper was delivered, but he feels bad for people who may not have the same chance.
"What if you're working? You have to wait," Domeracki said. "Normally, when it comes to voting, I go in and come right out."
The Department of Justice is monitoring the election in Luzerne County, and residents say this paper situation is just another bad thing.
"It's going to be challenged anyway. There's no question," said Jayne Lynn of Harveys Lake. "This just adds fuel to the fire, and unnecessarily."
Luzerne County election officials said paper was sent out by noon. They had to order it in the morning when problems started to arise.
Voters who had to cast a provisional ballot should not be concerned about their vote counting, including those who used computer paper.
Acting Deputy Director of Elections Emily Cook said the shortages resulted from a perfect storm of factors, including high voter turnout.