A Pennsylvania district that did not have enough paper ballots on Election Day could not confirm the results of the Nov. 8 midterm election by Monday, the deadline.
The Luzerne County Board of Elections split 2-2 to confirm the results, with one member abstaining. It is unclear what the next steps are.
Republican board members Alyssa Fusaro and Jim Mangan voted no, while Democratic members Denise Williams and Audrey Serniak voted in favor of certification, according to the Times Leader newspaper. Daniel Schramm, also a Democrat, was the only board member who abstained.
According to local media reports, Fusaro and Mangan said problems surrounding the Nov. 8 ballot shortage caused voters to be turned away because they would not confirm the results. Fusaro explained Monday that voters were turned away from the elections, privacy was not protected and machines were jammed and out of paper.
“There were so many challenges, so many questions, so many problems, so many concerns that I cannot in good conscience endorse this election,” Fusaro said, adding that a new election should be held.
Schramm said at the hearing that he was “not a rubber stamp” and would like more time to consider a reconciliation report. He also wants to investigate claims made by voters on Election Day, the Times Leader reported.
Mangan noted that the board “made every effort” to accept every possible ballot during the decision phase. The paper election problems, he said, sparked a “humiliating experience” for the Luzerne County government that made international headlines.
The Lucerne District Attorney previously said he was investigating the paper shortage along with other Election Day issues.
Pennsylvania State Department officials did not immediately offer public comment on the next steps. In May, three Pennsylvania counties refused to record absentee ballots from the state’s primary elections, withholding Pennsylvania’s confirmation of the results before a judge stepped in and ordered the votes to be counted.
During Monday’s hearing, a person who attended the meeting called Serniak, a Democrat, a liar after claiming “I can’t see any massive fraud in this,” according to local media. The man was escorted out of the building by officers.
MPs also asked another man to leave after he called Williams a communist and said board members should not vote until voters received a full explanation of why the paper shortage was caused.
Republican House candidate Jim Bognet issued a statement that the board should not confirm it, citing problems across the state on Election Day. Bognet lost to Democrat Matt Cartwright by about 7,000 votes, according to unofficial results.
“On Election Day, polling stations were closed for hours in many counties across Luzerne County. Citizens have been disenfranchised, and many voters still don’t know if their emergency votes were counted correctly. Voters deserve answers immediately,” Bognet said.
Pennsylvania had one of the best funded and most hotly contested races in the United States, pitting Democrat John Fetterman against Republican Mehmet Oz. Data shows that Fetterman beat Oz by about 5 percentage points nationally.