PA Judge Extends Voting Hours In Luzerne County Due To Paper Shortage

PA Judge Extends Voting Hours In Luzerne County Due To Paper Shortage

A Pennsylvania judge has extended voting hours in Luzerne County after the discovery of a paper shortage at polling sites.

The deadline was extended from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time under the emergency order from Judge Lesa Gelb of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.

“Voters in Luzerne County, through no fault of their own, were disenfranchised and denied the fundamental right to vote,” Gleb wrote in her order, according to the New York Post. “The constitutional right to vote requires an extension of the voting hours.”

Voters in the country were “disenfranchised and denied the fundamental right to vote” by the shortage, according to the judge.

Voters at some precincts indicate that voting machines are running out of paper and election officials are scrambling to address the situation.

— WNEP (@WNEP) November 8, 2022

“Upon arriving at the polling locations to set up machines on Election Day poll workers at the Luzerne County polling locations discovered that the voting machines were seriously deficient of paper to print out the ballot after the voter uses the machine to vote,” they wrote in court papers.
A total of 35 precincts were impacted by the shortages according to Beth Gilbert McBride, the county’s acting elections director, local outlet Standard-Speaker reported. Provisional ballots were being used as a backup measure, though there were expected shortages of provisional ballots as well.

Some locations may not receive the additional printed ballots until 4:30 p.m., according to the report. County officials are reportedly investigating the matter.

WBRE News reported that voters had contacted the outlet and “said they could not vote or were told to come back to vote later in the day.”

POLLING HOURS EXTENDED – Because of dozens of polling places running out of the necessary paper for the voting machines in #LuzerneCounty, #Pennsylvania — a county judge has extended the polls until 10pm this #ElectionDay
Photo from @HalfCourt24 who’s in Luz Co now

— Chelsea Strub (@chelseastrub) November 8, 2022

Approximately 204,500 registered voters live in Luzerne County. Former President Donald Trump won the county by 14 points in 2020, according to the New York Post.

Luzerne County is located south of Scranton and includes the communities of Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton.

The Pennsylvania midterm elections have been among the most heated and expensive campaigns in the nation. Democrat Josh Shapiro faces Republican Doug Mastriano in the battle for governor, while Democrat John Fetterman faces Republican Mehmet Oz for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania in one of the most closely-watched matchups in the nation.

Fetterman has been criticized both for his leftist views as well as his health after facing a stroke shortly before the primary. Oz has faced scrutiny over residency issues as a relative newcomer to the state.

Oz has gained momentum in recent weeks following endorsements from key GOP leaders, including former President Donald Trump. Most recent polls indicate a close contest.

The well-known medical doctor campaigned in Luzerne County just one day before the election.

“Full house in Luzerne County! Get out and vote tomorrow!” Oz tweeted on Monday.

Full house in Luzerne County! Get out and vote tomorrow!

— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) November 7, 2022