Low Voter Turnout Despite Charges Against Elected Official

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WILKES-BARRE – Workers at several polling places in Luzerne County told Newswatch 16 that voter turnout was low and that there was little talk of the race for the County Controller seat.

Walter Griffith hasn’t responded to questions about his run for another four-year term for county controller, since he was charged with three felony counts of wiretapping offenses last week.

Court documents filed by the state Attorney General's office said agents seized audio recordings of three illegally-taped phone calls and closed-door meetings from Griffith’s office in Wilkes-Barre last month.

Republican Challenger Karen Ceppa-Hirko told Newswatch 16 that her campaign has been low-key and that the future of the County Controller position is up to the voting public.

"We need to bring in a lot of honest and loyal people that are willing to do the work and do that work for the taxpayers,” said Ceppa-Hirko. “That`s only Walter's decision. I hope that he would make the right decision for the taxpayers."

The Democratic candidates for the County Controller seat are Michelle Bednar and Luzerne County Councilman Stephen Urban.

Court documents indicate that Urban was one of several people who were recorded by Griffith.

Some voters in Luzerne County told Newswatch 16 that they support Griffith if the recordings were done in the best interests of Luzerne County, but others said the person who is supposed to be the watchdog of fraud and abuse needs to follow the law.

“It’s really terrible that it's happening, that these people are allowing themselves to be more self-centered rather than to think of the populous that they represent. As a result, they`re hurting themselves. With this type of publicity that they’re getting, I don`t know how they expect to win,” said Dan Sullivan.