The price tag to fix the foul-up in the May municipal primary election is $17,332.98, Elections Director Marisa Crispell said after the Luzerne County Board of Elections meeting Wednesday. The problem erupted when a candidate for the Hazleton Area School Board – which encompasses parts of Luzerne, Carbon and Schuylkill counties – withdrew from the race. The Luzerne County Bureau of Elections did not notify the other two counties of the withdrawal, which led to the candidate receiving votes despite bowing out. After a pair of Luzerne County judges ruled the election needed a do-over, county officials initially estimated it would cost $2,300 if conducted by mail. Instead, the counties decided to conduct a complete and more expensive re-do by opening polling places.
“We had no say based on how they conducted their elections,” Crispell said.
The bill from Schuylkill County was $10,047.75 and $6,134.03 from Carbon County. Due to a court order, Luzerne County also had to pay $1,151.20 to Vinsko and Associates, the law firm which represented Carmella Yenkevich, a Hazleton Area School Board candidate who initially lost in the election. The firm worked pro-bono, but that sum covers the firm’s costs, such as filing and service fees, Luzerne County Solicitor David Pedri said.