You know the USA’s grip on first-world status is slipping when election officials run out of paper and have to delay closing the polls, but that’s just what happened Tuesday in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. A judge stepped in and ordered voting hours to be extended by two hours, moving the close from 8 pm to 10 pm.

Similar paper problems were reported in at least 12 locations in Texas. Nothing to see here, folks.

Judge Lesa S. Gelb of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas wrote:

…the constitutional right to vote requires an extension of the voting hours after after the county’s voters, through no fault of their own, were disenfranchised and denied the fundamental right to vote.

Her ruling came quickly after election officials filed an emergency petition, writing:

Upon arriving at the polling locations to set up machines on Election Day poll workers at the Luzerne County polling locations discovered that the voting machines were seriously deficient of paper to print out the ballot after the voter uses the machine to vote.

Officials also described how some voters weren’t able to wait and had to leave the polling location. Officials said:

In the immediate instance electors of Luzerne County may be deprived of their opportunity to participate because of circumstances beyond their control if the time for closing polls is not extended.

Alec Ryncavage, the Republican candidate for state representative in Pennsylvania’s 119th Legislative District, predicts problems ahead, according to the PA-based Times Leader: “Candidates won’t know who won by the end of the night,” he said. “This election also may be open to lawsuits.”

Meanwhile, journalist Holly Hansen reported that similar issues were plaguing Texas:

How can this happen in the United States of America in 2022?

That is the most obvious question. Why didn’t they have enough paper? Incompetence? Or is this a portent that there will be endless litigation and delayed results in these elections? Looks like it.

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