After refusing to certify its general election results due to widespread failures that potentially disenfranchised voters, the board of elections for Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, has flip-flopped and voted to certify its election results anyway — after pressure from a lawsuit by known Democrat election meddler Marc Elias.
This past Monday, Luzerne’s board of elections voted against certifying its results from the Nov. 8 election after voters experienced significant problems casting their ballots. About a third of Luzerne’s precincts were out of ballot paper as early as 9 a.m. and turning away voters for several hours, according to election observers affiliated with the Committee on House Administration, a U.S. congressional committee that helps oversee elections. As a result, thousands of Luzerne County residents were affected and likely did not cast ballots.
“State and local elections officials were warned for months about the potential of a ballot paper shortage, and it’s unacceptable that Luzerne County didn’t heed those warnings,” Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration, told The Federalist. “What we saw play out as early as 9 [a.m.] on Election Day in nearly one-third of precincts was the worst case scenario, as thousands of voters were disenfranchised and unable to cast their ballots—true voter suppression.”
In a letter to the chair of Luzerne County’s elections board last month, Davis noted that “based on testimony offered at this week’s public meeting, the shortage was so acute that after polls were effectively closed for a period of time, several precinct locations instructed voters to purchase reams of standard copier paper from office supply stores so that the polling location could operate in some fashion.”
Because Luzerne’s polling places were effectively closed for several hours, a judge ruled they had to stay open for two extra hours on Election Day. The next day, the Luzerne county manager announced his resignation.
Hundreds of Luzerne voters expressed their frustration with how the county handled Election Day in public meetings following the election. And as a result of the countless errors, the elections board voted 2-2 against certifying the election results. Two Republican board members voted against certifying, with two Democrats voting in favor. One Democrat member abstained.
“My feeling is I needed a little more information. So, I really didn’t want to say, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re done with it now.’ I want more information, so I can make a short decision on that it’s right to certify it or to not certify it,” Daniel Schramm, the Democrat elections board member who abstained, told a local news outlet.
By voting not to certify, some 117,000 votes could be left out of Pennsylvania’s official tally for the 2022 midterms (thankfully, Luzerne’s district attorney is investigating the election mishaps whether or not the results are certified).
But no sooner did Schramm signal his reluctance to certify Luzerne’s election than prominent Democrat operative (and Russian collusion peddler) Marc Elias descended upon the unsuspecting board member, filing a lawsuit to compel the board to certify (and ominously tweeting, “They should ask Cochise County, AZ how well this ends for them,” referring to another county that voted against certifying its midterm election results).
Elias’ lawsuit argued that “certification of election results by a county board of elections is a ministerial act — one which the board is required to perform and has no discretion to refuse.” County boards, he claimed, must “compute and certify the votes justly regardless of any fraudulent or erroneous returns presented to it.”
But Pennsylvania law assigns county boards of elections the duty “[t]o investigate election frauds, irregularities and violations of [the election code], and to report all suspicious circumstances to the district attorney.” Thus while election boards have a duty to certify, they must first canvass the results and investigate any irregularities.
But after Elias filed his complaint Tuesday, Schramm joined the other two Democrats on the elections board and voted to certify Luzerne’s results on Wednesday.
In response to the decision, Elias bragged about his coercion of electoral officials by tweeting, “We sued, they certified. Your turn Cochise County,” referring to another county he’s targeted for failing to certify its election results.
For all his talk about supposedly Republican-orchestrated voter suppression, Elias seems to look the other way when it benefits his own party. When Democrats get what they want (and they got it in Pennsylvania on Nov. 8), they’re loathe to give it up — even if that means depriving citizens of the right to vote in Republican-leaning Luzerne County.