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Emily Cook named director of elections for Luzerne County

Interim Luzerne County Election Director Emily Cook carries mail-in ballots at Penn Place in Wilkes-Barre on Primary Election Night 2024. She was appointed Director of Elections on Monday.
Aimee Dilger
Interim Luzerne County Election Director Emily Cook carries mail-in ballots at Penn Place in Wilkes-Barre on Primary Election Night 2024. Cook stepped into the role of acting director of elections for Luzerne County in February, after the previous director resigned. She was appointed as director of elections on Monday.

Luzerne County has a new director of elections.

Emily Cook, acting director since February, has now been appointed as director of elections.

County Manager Romilda Crocamo announced Cook's appointment on Monday. She said Cook brings a “wealth of experience and a proven track record of leadership” to the role.

Cook has worked in the Bureau of Elections since September 2021. She started as an administrative assistant and has worked in every position within the department since then, Crocamo said.

Reached on Monday, Cook said she is excited to continue her work with the department.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what we as a department are able to do,” she said. “There’s been a lot of collaboration happening to make impactful changes…by everyone in our office.”

Cook stepped into the acting director position after the previous director of elections resigned. She led the county office through the primary election in April, which Crocamo called “successful” and “conducted with professionalism and efficiency.”

Cook said her history with the department gives her a broad perspective on how to run it.

“It provides a greater understanding of some of the challenges that each position in the office faces,” she said.

The Luzerne County office has seen significant turnover in recent years, particularly in the director position.

Issues have plagued county elections as well — in the 2022 general election, polling places throughout the county ran out of paper used to print ballots. That led the county’s election board to delay certifying the vote and refer the issue to the district attorney’s office.

Cook still immediately mentions the department’s paper supply whenever she discusses election preparations.

“I think that’s going to be something that sticks with us for the long haul,” she said. “We’re already ordering the paper. We’ve got so much paper here.”

Despite the department’s history, Cook doesn’t imagine leaving anytime soon.

“I think I’ve shown over the last several years that I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “I’ve lived through some of the worst scenarios that we could have had play out here, and that didn’t scare me away.”

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