Power Outage Causes Problem at the Polls

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OLYPHANT -- A power outage threw a wrench into the voting process for many people in Lackawanna County.  Residents in Olyphant say they were without power for close to three hours.

Voting was running smoothly at St. Nick’s in Olyphant later in the day, but elections workers say that wasn’t the case just a few hours prior.

"The power just went out and we didn’t know what it was.  We thought it maybe was the breaker box," said Judge of Elections Kimberly Dematteo-MacDonald.

Residents say all of Olyphant and other parts of Lackawanna County lost power for part of the morning because of an issue with some PPL Equipment.

Voting machines that count the paper ballots are supposed to work, power or not.  But in several wards in Lackawanna County it wasn’t the case.

"Every vote did count. Everybody’s vote did count.  We ended up waiting for the power for about two and a half hours. We actually had to use the emergency box for most of the morning," said Judge of Elections Lori Dohanich.

Dozens of votes were cast into the emergency boxes and later run through the machines when the power returned.

But for those several hours that power was out in parts of the valley, it created confusion for some people heading to the polls.

Anthony Picchio of Olyphant says he’s voted in every election for the past 50 years and didn’t think he could cast a ballot while the borough’s power was knocked off.

"No I didn’t think, that’s why I didn’t come over early because I figured no use coming over because they can’t use the machines," said Picchio.

But June Deblasio says she knew this paper ballot system allowed voting to continue, power or not.

"I actually said thank God we still keep it in the dark ages where we still write ours in," said Deblasio.

Poll workers say they’re just thankful this poll power problem came during a slower election year.

"I’m happy it wasn’t a presidential year, that’s for sure,” Dematteo-MacDonald said