WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Bureau of Elections employees were working to determine Thursday if write-in votes changed the outcome of any municipal elections, but a partial check revealed that was the case in at least two races.
According to unofficial write-in vote results, Larry Massina waged a successful write-in campaign to unseat Republican Nescopeck Mayor Tim Kelchner, who ran unopposed on the ballot.
Massina won 84 votes, compared to Kelchner’s 59.
According to unofficial poll results, there were 88 write-in votes for mayor cast in Nescopeck. It remains unclear why four of those votes were not acknowledged.
Massina said he ran a write-in campaign, standing outside the polls for hours and introducing himself to voters because Kelchner served 12 consecutive years as mayor and another eight years sometime previous to that, and he “thought it was time for a change here in town.”
Massina said he has been attending council meetings steadily for the past six years and believes he will “get along pretty good” with council.
Nescopeck write-in votes also determined the make-up of borough council next year and filled the judge of elections post.
Although their names did not appear on the ballot, incumbents Paul Nye, Kim Kishbaugh and Marlin Henrie managed to retain their council seats. Nye and Kishbaugh each received 65 write-in votes, Henrie received 61 and Noel Shortridge received seven.
Sue Jury won judge of elections with 17 write-in votes with no one on the ballot to beat. Incidentally, Jury was on the ballot and unopposed for inspector of elections and won that post with 87 votes.
In Laflin, it appears that Glen Gubitose knocked incumbent Republican Anthony D’Eliseo out of his council seat, securing 131 write-in votes to D’Eliseo’s 103 votes. Republican Carl Yestremski, who also was on the ballot, held onto his council seat with 158 votes.
A Bureau of Elections employee said director Marissa Crispell-Barber was working on spreadsheets Thursday to paint a clear picture of final race results in all municipalities with write-in votes factored in. Those results are expected to be ready today or early next week. She said several races ended up in ties. Tie-breakers likely will be held next Friday.
The Board of Elections has yet to certify the 2013 General Election results.