Local polling places see higher voter turnout
February 19. 2013 3:55PM
Long lines remain at many polling places in Luzerne County and all voters who get in line by 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
According to Marisa Crispell-Barber, Luzerne County's contract election manager, judges of election have been instructed to go outside at 8 p.m. and mark the end of the line. She said everyone ahead of the last person will be allowed to vote.
The polls close at 8 p.m., she said.
Patty Sleboda of Wright Township arrived at her polling place at the Knights of Columbus on Alberdeen Road at 6:30 p.m. and waited an hour to vote. She said the line was even longer when she came out.
Sleboda said she was 1,388th person to vote at her polling place.
Long lines were reported at several polling places as 8 p.m. approached.
UPDATE 4:45 p.m.
Voter turnout is high at Luzerne County polling places, said Crispell-Barber.
We're very busy, she said between calls from voters requesting information on their polling places.
No major problems with the electronic voting machines had been reported as of 4:30 p.m., she said.
Election workers at two voting locations in Wilkes-Barre and Hazle Township had to instruct two New York residents to stand 10 feet away from polling places, she said.
Crispell-Barber said the New York residents were claiming to be poll watchers.
Poll watchers are permitted inside polling places but must be registered voters in that county and obtain watcher certificates from the county election office, she said.
The county Democratic Committee announced its willingness to assist voters who may need an emergency absentee ballot today.
Voters who need an emergency absentee ballot were instructed to contact Attorney Bill Vinsko, the party's solicitor, to seek court and election board approval.
Vinsko can be reached at his office at (570) 970-9700.
Attorney James Haggerty, the state Republican party's chief counsel in Luzerne County, said he will provide the same service but stressed the requirements that must be met to obtain an emergency ballot.
Emergency ballots are available for voters with a medical disability that surfaced since 5 p.m. Friday or those unexpectedly called out of the area for work duties.
Haggerty advised voters to call (570) 908-9441 for assistance.
By 3 p.m. about 1,200 votes had been cast in Kingston Township's District 3. That was more than half the total in 2008.
The cookie poll also pointed toward a strong turnout. Martha Baird, behind the counter at the election day food sale held as a fundraiser by the Trucksville United Methodist Church, said 200 orders had been received, compared to a total of 260 four years ago.
Waiting in line to vote, Todd Calkins said there are things I don't like about both parties, but President Obama was getting his vote. I'm mainly here to try to protect my job, the union member said.
POSTED 3:06 p.m.
KINGSTON TWP. - A total of 194,121 Luzerne County residents are registered to vote in today's general election, and some polling places are already reporting a high turnout.
At the Kingston Township municipal building on Center Street, poll workers said they had already seen about 500 this afternoon, a 20 percent increase from other non-presidential elections.
A line lead out the door in Kingston Township and other polling places across the county.
The county has 110,903 registered Democrats, 63,940 Republicans and 19,278 Independent and third-party voters, according to the county Election Bureau.
Voters in three municipalities also will decide referendum questions about the addition of two supervisor seats in Butler Township, home rule charter amendments in Kingston Township and a proposed switch to home rule in Pittston.
The county issued 7,399 absentees, and 5,723 ballots were returned as of Friday afternoon.
There are 189 polling places in Luzerne County. A list of all polling places is on the election section of the website at www.luzernecounty.org.