Judge extends voting hours in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, after paper shortage
A judge in Pennsylvania agreed to extend voting by two hours in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, after a paper shortage was discovered at polling places.
The county’s voting deadline was extended from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. under an emergency court order by Judge Lesa S. Gelb of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.
Gelb, in a one-page order, said “the constitutional right to vote requires an extension of the voting hours” after Luzerne County voters, “through no fault of their own, were disenfranchised and denied the fundamental right to vote.”
Her ruling came within hours after an emergency petition was filed by Luzerne County election officials, who described in court papers the problems faced by poll workers on Tuesday.
“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.
As a stopgap measure, election workers used emergency and provisional ballots.
The office of Luzerne County Bureau of Elections did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
At the time of their early afternoon court filing, the elections bureau said it was “attempting to obtain the paper to supply all of the polling locations sufficiently.”
The emergency petition also said some voters reported that they were unable to remain at the polls, and that they would be unable to return to vote until after polls had closed.
“In the immediate instance electors of Luzerne County may be deprived of their opportunity to participate because of circumstances beyond their control if the time for closing polls is not extended,” they wrote.
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