Time is ticking for anyone waiting until the last minute to register for the November election.
The final day for people wishing to register is Monday, Centre County Elections Office Director Joyce McKinley said.
To this point, registration has been slow but on pace with other similar municipal elections, she said. The biggest years are normally presidential and gubernatorial elections, but McKinley said that the slow registration doesn’t necessarily guarantee a low turnout.
“Some years it does, and some years it doesn’t,” he said. “It’s just hard to predict.”
Turnout is usually determined by the number of bigger, contested races within the county, she added.
In this election, four of the five county school boards have contested races for at least one seat, and there is a contested district judge race in State College.
Commissioner Michael Pipe is hoping that draws people to the polls on Nov. 5.
In municipal and school board races, Pipe said, the key to getting people out to vote is the candidates interacting with voters.
Anytime someone asks Pipe the best way to get voters interested and engaged, he tells them to buy a good pair of shoes and start knocking on doors.
“That’s the biggest bang for your buck,” he said. “It’s the most powerful tool.”
He added that municipal elections are some of the most important for the local community.
The people who will be elected in November are in charge of important local tasks like sewer and water service, and leaf and tax collections. These are the resources people can turn to when they have a local issue, he said.
“If you look at local politics, it’s right in your community,” he said. “These are people who can’t run away to Washington or Harrisburg when you ask them a tough question.”
Voters have multiple ways to register, McKinley said. They can fill out a form at the elections office, or print out the form online and mail it in. As long as it’s postmarked by Monday, it will be accepted, she said.
An option for people who will be out of the area on election day is an absentee ballot. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Oct. 29; it must be returned to the office by Nov. 1, McKinley said.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.