Wrong candidates on ballot in Lake-Lehman school race
BY HEIDI RUCKNO
Early risers looking to cast their ballots for Lake-Lehman school director found the wrong candidates on the ballot Tuesday.
The candidates in Region 2 appeared on the Region 3 ballot and the candidates in Region 3 appeared on the Region 2 ballot, according to Leonard Piazza, director of the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections.
“Due to an oversight we had the wrong ballots on those machines,” Piazza said.
Voters in Ross Township and most of Lehman Township went to the polls to find school board candidates David Paulauskas, Sheila Gionfriddo and Rebecca Baker on the ballot. But the candidates in that part of the school district were actually Bo Kreller, Harold W. Cornell Jr. and Walter Glogowski.
Paulauskas, Gionfriddo and Baker were supposed to be on the ballot in Jackson Township and the Idetown and Oak Hill sections of Lehman Township.
The new ballots were uploaded on the electronic machines by 8 a.m., Piazza said, but those who voted early had to have their entire ballots cancelled. To give voters a chance, the bureau of elections received a court order to keep those precincts open until 9 p.m., he said.
About 47 voters were affected, Piazza said. The bureau of elections contacted all of them, and by 7:45 p.m., about three-quarters of them had re-voted, he said.
Tuesday marked the first municipal election with the iVotronic voting machines. The electronic touch-screen machines replaced the manual lever system last year.
Despite the glitch, Piazza said the results would stand, even if the school board races in those districts were close. Election results in similar situations have been found legally valid, he said.
The mishap was one of only a handful reported on what Piazza said was a quiet day at the polls. A late start was reported at a Plains Township precinct and some disabled voters had difficulty casting their ballots at a Wilkes-Barre church.
Although Piazza could not confirm the late start, Plains Township Commissioner Ron Filippini said the polls at Plains Township Hose Co. 2 in the Fox Hill section didn’t open until 7:30 a.m.
Filippini was not sure why the precinct did not open on time, nor did he know if the polls would stay open later.
Piazza also received some complaints from voters at St. Stanislaus Polish Church, 666 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. They had concerns about handicapped accessibility.
City resident Carol Hess voted there. She was dismayed to find out she had to go down some steep steps just to get in the door, a daunting task for a senior citizen on oxygen, she said.
Hess was able to cast her ballot, but worried others would have trouble.
“I voted,” she said, “but I risked my life to go down some bad steps.”
Piazza said he would re-evaluate the location before the November election.