Pennsylvania county deadlocks on certifying election results

Officials in a northeastern Pennsylvania county where paper shortages caused Election Day ballot problems deadlocked Monday on whether to report official vote tallies to the state, effectively preventing their certification of the results.

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Two Democratic members of the Luzerne County Board of Elections and Voter Registration voted to certify, both Republicans voted “no” and the fifth member, Democrat Daniel Schramm, abstained.

A judge extended voting in Luzerne by two hours, to 10 p.m., during the Nov. 8 election after the supplies ran short at some polling places. It’s unclear how many people were kept from voting as a result.

During public comment before the vote on Monday, people called the election “rife with disenfranchisement,” requested the election be redone and called on county election officials to resign.

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Alyssa Fusaro, a Republican Luzerne election board member, said she could not vouch that the election had been conducted freely and fairly.

Fusaro said voters were turned away from the polls, machines jammed and ran out of paper and normal privacy safeguards for voters were not in place.

The board’s lawyer, Paula Radick, said failure to certify could bring litigation against the county from the state or from candidates.

Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania is an area that has been shifting votes from Democrats to Republicans in recent years. Democratic Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro narrowly won Luzerne, while Democratic U.S. Sen.-elect John Fetterman lost the county by some 10,000 votes.

Officials with the Department of State provided no immediate comment about the next steps. After three counties refused to record mail-in votes from the May primary, holding up state certification of the overall results, a judge ordered that they be counted.

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