Our View | Important races on your ballot Tuesday

November 2, 2013 

Election Day is Tuesday, and there will be a meaningful showdown on the ballot, no matter where you live.

The races that will appear on your ballot this week are very important, and the result will arguably have a greater impact on your life than the choosing of the governor, a senator or even a member of the House of Representatives.

Joyce McKinley, director of the Centre County Office of Elections, noted that just 12 percent of county voters cast ballots in the primary.

“We’d like to see a decent turnout,” she said. “We certainly expect to see better turnout than in the spring, but that was disastrous.”

McKinley noted the highest interest in Penns Valley’s school board race and in municipal contests across the Centre Region.

But she hopes voters take their local races seriously regardless of where they live.

“It’s more important that people vote in these local elections,” McKinley said. “Traditionally, the largest turnout occurs for president. But here, they’re electing officials who have an effect on their local government.”

One statewide race will be contested, as Republican Victor P. Stabile and Democrat Jack McVay Jr. square off for a seat on the state Superior Court.

And there are many contested races across Centre County, in every school district and most boroughs and townships.

As the flood of letters to the editor on our Opinion pages shows, there are some very hot battles.

For Centre Region residents, there are contested races for supervisor in Halfmoon, Harris, Ferguson and Patton townships, and council battles in College Township and State College.

The election for mayor of State College has drawn considerable attention.

Another compelling race has eight individuals, both incumbents and challengers, seeking five seats on the Penns Valley Area School District board of directors. Some are at large, while others are running by region of the district.

The race for seats on the Bellefonte Area School District board is also crowded, with seven individuals chasing five spots.

Bald Eagle Area and Philipsburg-Osceola have contested school board seats. Four primary winners are on the ballot for four seats in the State College district, where a major high school project is looming.

There are interesting municipal races across the county, from Gregg to Liberty to Benner townships, and in Port Matilda, where the incumbent mayor is telling voters to pick someone else.

In State College, two candidates are vying for one district judge post.

These races are the ones closest to your family, your property, your pocketbook. These officers will make the decisions that affect your children’s education, your local tax bills and the area roads across which you travel.

Some of you who vote, and naturally some of you who don’t, will find yourselves standing before a district judge one day as either defendants or plaintiffs.

It’s time to exercise your right to cast a ballot, and help shape the future of your community.

Hopefully you read and kept the League of Women Voters guide that appeared in Saturday’s editions of the CDT. The League previewed most local races, and we supplemented that with information on other contested election battles.

In addition, we’ve been previewing many of the county’s top races in our pages and online. You can read all of those stories at CentreDaily.com.

And you can view sample ballots, check precincts and get other voting information at: centrecountypa.gov.

These local elections matter greatly. The candidates have stepped forward to serve their communities.

Let’s support them and participate in this important civic process by turning out to vote on Tuesday.

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