Berks Co. lawmaker calls for hearings after problems at the polls

By: - May 17, 2022 4:34 pm

A Berks County lawmaker is calling for “public hearings and investigations” after running into what he described as a “substantial delay” at his local polling place because poll workers were not properly trained on the county’s new voting machines.

“When I went to cast my ballot today, what should have been a quick, simple process turned into a multi-hour ordeal,” Rep. Manny Guzman, D-Berks, said in a statement. “A simple mistake took more than an hour and the personal intervention of the county election director to fix. Workers were not trained on the new voting machines and the county provided no paper ballots to backup any potential problems – in fact ballots are only being distributed today, hours after the polls opened.”

Guzman said he contacted the county election board, local election attorneys, and the Department of State, which administers elections, for help.

“I want to be clear – the hard-working, underpaid poll workers did everything they could to solve the problem, and their dedication and professionalism is great. These people were hung out to dry, and the voters and Democracy are suffering.”

Guzman said he wants to make sure that any problems are ironed out before this November’s general election. The hearings he’s called for, he said, will aid in that cause.

“I’m not worried about me; I’m worried about the voter making time to be heard who has to get to work or has to get their kids to school,” he said. “People don’t have time to throw away on dealing with the failures of the county election officials who didn’t make sure the poll workers knew how to operate the voting machines. The idea we might have people walk away from their right to be heard is unacceptable. It’s voter suppression through incompetence at the top.”

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.