Yes, there were Election Day problems in Luzerne Co. No, that’s not a sign of fraud | Opinion

In the future, Luzerne County Council needs to fully fund the Bureau of Elections in the county budget

A week out from Election Day, outside groups have reported spending $7.7 million on behalf of Democratic and Republican candidates. (Photo by Daniella Heminghaus for the New Jersey Monitor)

(Photo by Daniella Heminghaus/New Jersey Monitor)

By Alisha Hoffman-Mirilovich

All across the state and right here in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania voters saw this election as a choice between freedom and extremism and voted in unusually high numbers, across race, place, and party to protect our families and our futures. This election was a victory for Americans who want a fairer, more free future for all.

But it’s important to remember how we got here: in 2020, insurrectionist Republicans engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the will of the people. That’s not how elections work in America, and we rejected their efforts to overturn the results. We won, but we also saw what happens when far-right Republicans lose: they lie and lash out.

Now, just like they did in 2020, some partisan operatives in Luzerne County who are angry about losing are attempting to capitalize on an Election Day snafu to corrupt the counting process and silence the voices of Luzerne County voters. We know this playbook: they lose, they lie, they lash out.

Paper shortage prompts judge to keep polls in Luzerne County open until 10 p.m.

On Election Day, a fraction of our computerized voting machines ran out of paper. As a result, a court order extended polling location hours to 10pm. Some voters had to return to the polls.

Some Luzerne County voters had to vote provisionally.  Running an election is a massive technical operation, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, they don’t run perfectly. Is this ideal? No. Is it something that does sometimes happen and that our dedicated, nonpartisan election workers handled professionally so that the election could proceed? Yes.

There’s no question: the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office should conduct an objective and fair investigation into how the error happened to ensure a better, smoother process for future elections, but that does not and should not impact the counting and certifying of this election.

In Pennsylvania, our votes are tabulated by our own neighbors and trusted local officials working together in a bipartisan effort. These dedicated nonpartisan Elections Board members are working diligently to ensure that the process is fair and transparent, and that every valid vote is counted.

We trust the Luzerne County Board of Elections and the orderly and fair process it has adopted. We thank the bipartisan volunteers who have assisted the board during their proceedings.  We believe that the voters of Luzerne County deserve nothing less than a process that ensures that every vote is counted and every voter is heard.

Looking to future elections, we ask the Luzerne County Council to fully fund the Bureau of Elections in the county budget. We advocate for the Council to adopt a Pro-Voter agenda to ensure the freedom to vote for all Luzerne County voters.

Despite the protestations of some partisans who are angry their candidates lost, in Pennsylvania, the voters decide, not politicians or sore losers.

No matter what we look like or where we come from, America should be a place where everyone counts and where every vote is counted.

We value the freedom to vote, to elect who governs in our name, and to have an equal say in the decisions that impact our lives. Our voice, and our votes, are our power.

Alisha Hoffman-Mirilovich is the executive director of Action Together NEPA.

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Capital-Star Guest Contributor
Capital-Star Guest Contributor

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star welcomes opinion pieces from writers who share our goal of widening the conversation on how politics and public policy affects the day-to-day lives of people across the commonwealth.