Luzerne County Republican registration up by more than 6,000 voters

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - | April 25th, 2016 4:26 pm

When the dust settled, Luzerne County picked up 6,244 new registered Republicans since the November general election, final voter statistics show.

The number of county Democrats decreased 1,530 during the same period.

Many attribute the boost in Republican registration to interest in Republican presidential contender Donald Trump and intense mass media coverage of the Republican race.

A total 105,488 Democrats are registered to vote in Tuesday’s primary, compared to 107,018 in November.

The total Republican count is 68,607; it was 62,363 in November.

Some other statistical details:

• A total 4,647 county voters switched their registration to Republican to date this year — 3,832 Democrats and 815 Independent and third-party.

• Another 1,188 switched to Democratic registration — 457 Republicans and 731 Independent and third-party.

• Overall county voter registration has increased 4,001, from 190,659 in November to a current 194,660.

• The number of Independent and third-party voters has decreased 713, for a new total of 20,565, since November. These voters cannot cast ballots for candidates Tuesday because Pennsylvania has closed primaries, but they can vote on ballot questions.

Two constitutional amendment questions will appear on the ballot, but only one will count.

A question asking voters if they want to extend the judicial retirement age from 70 to 75 will be delayed until the November ballot, a Pennsylvania judge ruled last week.

This ruling came too late to remove the question from Tuesday’s ballot, said county Election Director Marisa Crispell. At the state’s urging, signs will appear at polling places Tuesday, informing county voters their response to the judicial retirement age question will not be counted.

The other ballot question, which will be counted statewide, asks voters if they want to approve a constitutional amendment eliminating the Traffic Court of Philadelphia. State legislators shut down the controversy-plagued court in 2013 after a ticket-fixing scandal.

Democrats also should be aware of a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this month ordering U.S. Senate contender Joe Vodvarka back on the ballot, Crispell said.

This ruling came in time to place Vodvarka on both the county’s paper and electronic ballots, Crispell said. Also seeking the Democratic nomination in that race are John Fetterman, Katie McGinty and Joe Sestak.

Polling places

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

State election law prohibits campaigning within 10 feet of polls, Crispell advised.

As a precaution, county sheriff deputies will be stationed throughout the county to respond to safety or security concerns, Crispell said.

“They’ve always been on call in elections, but typically they would just be dispatched from the courthouse,” Crispell said of the deputies.

She expects a turnout of at least 50 percent but said it may be significantly higher.

“It was around 50 percent in the 2008 primary, and that was the highest turnout in the last four presidential primaries,” Crispell said.

Voters with concerns or questions, including the correct location of their polling place, should contact the election office at 570-825-1715.

Some polling locations changed due to a redistricting-and-consolidation plan designed to save money and make voter registration counts more uniform. All impacted voters received written notification, Crispell said.

The resulting polling location changes:

• Plymouth Township’s two election wards were combined to form one covering the entire municipality, which means former Ward 2 voters must cast ballots at the township municipal building, 925 W. Main St., instead of at the township fire/rescue building.

• Exeter Wards 2 and 3 were combined into a new Ward 2. Those in the former Ward 3 will now vote at St. Cecilia’s Parish Center, 1670 Wyoming Ave., instead of the Exeter Scout Home and Community Center.

• Hanover Township Wards 2 and 3 were combined to form a new Ward 2. Former Ward 3 voters must report to the Lee Park Towers Building, 140 Lee Park Ave., instead of the Preston Hose Co.

• Pittston’s boundary lines changed to reduce the number of wards from six to four. Ward 2 voters will now report to the St. John’s Church Hall basement, 35 William St., instead of the Pittston Active Adult Center. Ward 3 voters who previously voted at St. John’s will now report to Pittston City Hall, 35 Broad St. Ward 4 voters who previously voted at Pittston City Hall will now vote at Infantino Towers, 500 Kennedy Blvd.

• Plymouth has been reduced from four wards to three. Ward 2 voters who previously voted at Dan Flood Towers will report to the Plymouth Borough Building, 162 W. Shawnee Ave. Ward 3 voters who voted at the borough building will now report to the Plymouth Armory, 747 W. Main St.

Separate from the consolidation, polling locations also changed in two municipalities.

Voters in Hanover Township’s Ward 6 will vote at the Askam United Methodist Church, 2811 S. Main St., instead of the Askam Fire Co.

Wright Township District 2 voters will cast ballots at the township volunteer fire department building, 477 S. Main Rd., instead of the Knights of Columbus building.

All first-time voters must show some form of address verification, Crispell said. A photo identification is not required, and the verification may include a utility bill, bank statement or pay stub containing the voter’s name and address.

After the polls close, live election results will be posted at

The public also is invited to monitor election results after the polls close Tuesday night on the second floor of the county’s Penn Place Building at the corner of Market Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.

Some polling sites changed, consolidated

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.