Luzerne County makes push for more election board applicants

Luzerne County Manager Romilda Crocamo issued a release Friday urging residents to consider applying for two vacant county election board seats that must be filled by one Democrat and one Republican.

Crocamo said she was asked to seek “assistance from the wonderful residents of our county” after discussing the vacancies with county Council Chairman John Lombardo and Vice Chairman Brian Thornton.

“We are approaching a critical juncture in our election process, and I am personally making a plea for concerned citizens to apply for a seat on the Luzerne County Board of Elections,” the release said, noting council members have been attempting to recruit potential applicants.

The volunteer, five-citizen board oversees elections, makes determinations on flagged ballots and write-in votes and certifies election results.

The seats held by Republican James Mangan and Democrat Audrey Serniak expired Dec. 31 and must be filled by one Republican and one Democrat.

Serniak is seeking reappointment, and no other Democrats have both completed public interviews and met home rule charter eligibility requirements. Mangan did not seek reappointment, and West Pittston resident Roxanne Arreguin is the lone Republican on the eligibility list.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants should be aware of some mandates and restrictions:

• Election board members must be available on Election Day and during the day for a little over a week to two weeks after each primary and general election for the adjudication process.

• Election Day poll workers cannot be appointed to the election board because they receive payment from the county, which would be a county home rule charter prohibition, officials have said.

• Appointees must have been a member of the same political party continuously for at least five years prior to appointment and remain a member of that party during his/her board term.

• Citizens cannot serve on the board if they are an elected county or public official, a county or public employee or a member or employee of any other county authority, board or commission. Furthermore, appointees can’t be a political party officer or a paid consultant or employee of a contractor of the county or any county authority, board or commission.

These prohibitions go beyond current circumstances and apply four years prior to appointment.

Also, for a period of one year after leaving the election board, members cannot be:

• Hired as a county employee.

• Appointed to or employed by a county authority, board or commission.

• Employed or compensated by any individual or business that served as a county or authority/board/commission contractor during the time the person served on the election board.

• A paid consultant for the county or any authority, board, or commission.

Time sensitive

Council has 60 days to make the board appointments, or until the end of February. If that deadline is missed, any county resident can petition the county Court of Common Pleas to fill the seats within 30 days.

Lombardo has said he and council Vice Chairman Brian Thornton discussed the matter and decided to hold off on the election board appointments to see if more citizens are interested and, if so, provide council with choices.

Election Board Chairwoman Denise Williams has asked county council to fill the two vacancies at council’s next meeting Jan. 23, saying it is “very important for us to have a full board as soon as possible.”

In her Friday release, Crocamo said citizens “can play a crucial role in shaping our democracy and ensuring fair and transparent elections for all” by joining the “vital institution.”

“The Board of Elections serves as the backbone of our democratic process, overseeing the administration of elections, voter registration, and the accurate counting of votes. It is a non-partisan body that plays a pivotal role in upholding the fundamental principles of representation, accountability, and civic engagement,” she wrote.

Board members help to safeguard the integrity of the electoral system and ensure all eligible citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, she said.

“By participating in this essential democratic institution, individuals can contribute to the creation of a stronger, more inclusive democracy,” Crocamo said.

She encouraged citizens from diverse backgrounds, with varying levels of experience and a passion for democracy to apply for the board.

”By bringing together a broad range of perspectives, we can ensure that our electoral system remains equitable, transparent, and representative of the people it serves,” she said, asking citizens to “be part of the solution.”

Interested citizens can send their resume and a cover letter to

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


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