Last updated: March 16. 2013 7:37PM - 505 Views
By - jandes@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6388

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The Luzerne County Election Board voted Wednesday to ask the administration to pay Election Day workers $10 to entice them to attend training.

Election Director Marisa Crispell-Barber said the incentive is part of her plan to correct November general election problems that largely stemmed from poll workers' misunderstanding of requirements.

Crispell-Barber, who was hired as director in December, told county council Tuesday the office has offered the same training since 2006 and it must be revamped.

The county also must increase voter education, particularly about the need for voters to change their registration when they move, she said.

The problems cited in November included issues with provisional ballots, difficulties verifying voter registrations with the election office and a lack of accessibility for people with disabilities at some voting locations.

Crispell-Barber said the training will extensively cover provisional ballots. Forty-seven of the 330 provisional ballots received in November were counted. She said most who cast the paper provisional ballots were not registered to vote.

Election workers were supposed to check with Crispell-Barber's office to verify voter registrations before furnishing provisional ballots, but she acknowledged some workers were unable to get through. The election office will increase phone lines and compile a form on how to answer common questions to speed up the processing of calls, she said.

A separate area also will be set up at each voting location so more time-consuming issues with registrations can be processed without holding up other voters, she said.

The county has ramps and other equipment to provide access to disabled voters at all but one polling location, but a plan was not in effect to ensure these items were delivered on Election Day, Crispell-Barber said. She was informed the county stopped following through years ago on the delivery of this equipment, she said.

She said she will personally visit each polling place to ensure the proper equipment is prepped and delivered in future elections.

The St. Benedict Church Hall in Wilkes-Barres first and second wards is the only building that can't be made accessible through temporary equipment, she said. She is exploring other potential locations.

Area political consultant Bob Caruso raised numerous concerns about Election Day promises during the meeting, though he was cut off after the four-minute public comment time limit. He criticized the election board, saying it should have addressed concerns sooner. He questioned why the board has not met in months.

Four citizens appointed by council serve on the board, and a fifth member is appointed by those citizens.

There were massive problems on Election Day in November, said Caruso, and apparently they were not considered serious enough for this election board to meet to discuss them.

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