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Voting extended in Luzerne County

Courtdale Borough Building in Luzerne County

Voters in Luzerne County have until 10 p.m. to cast their ballots.

Acting Director of Elections Beth McBride requested the extension after polling places started to run out of the type of paper the county uses to print and count ballots from its electronic voting machines.

Typically, polls close at 8 p.m.

The order issued by Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lesa Gelb states that voters in Luzerne County through "no fault of their own, were disenfranchised and denied the fundamental right to vote."

Luzerne County Bureau of Elections and Luzerne County Board of Elections requested the extension, according to the order.

Around 40 polling places in Luzerne County ran out by this afternoon, but calls for more paper started coming in by 8:30 a.m., McBride said. Polls opened in Pennsylvania at 7 a.m.

"We don't have the exact scale of the problem. Right now, we're assuming that every single polling place was effected," McBride said. "We are doing the best we can and getting paper out to these polling places ... so that they're able to function."

Those who filled out a provisional or emergency ballot do not need to return to their polling place, but McBride encouraged any voters who were turned away to take advantage of the extension.

A spokesperson for incumbent Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright said that the congressman fully supports the extension to allow for maximum voter participation.

Republican Jim Bognet learned of the extension in Luzerne County shortly after the order was issued.

"We need to get our elections done right here in Luzerne County," he said. "We need to get our elections cleaned up."

Sarah Scinto is the local host of Morning Edition on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.

You can email Sarah at sarahscinto@wvia.org