Turnout sags in Penn State trustees election

mcarroll@centredaily.comApril 30, 2014 

The race for three seats on the Penn State board of trustees is hitting the final stretch, and turnout continues to sag from the previous two elections.

Penn State released its weekly voting update Wednesday, showing 22,952 alumni have cast ballots through the first three weeks of voting. Last year, 21,930 voted through the first week.

At this point last year, about 10,000 more alumni had voted.

More than 3,000 alumni had cast ballots since the close of business April 23, when 19,882 had voted.

Interest in the trustees election has surged since the Jerry Sandusky scandal hit in 2011.

In 2012, 37,500 alumni cast ballots to shatter the previous record. Voting approached those numbers again in 2013 but failed to set a record.

Turnout seems to be slowing this year, however.

Not only did fewer alumni vote in the first week this year (14,170) than did in 2013 (21,930), but the pace has been slower since.

About 2,000 more voted in the second and third weeks last year.

The race this year has 31 candidates, including lawyers, medical doctors and executives, vying for three seats held by trustees Marianne Alexander, Jesse Arnelle and Joel Myers.

Of the incumbents, only Myers, the founder of AccuWeather, is seeking re-election.

Voting ends at 9 a.m. May 8, and the results will be announced May 9 at the trustees meeting at the University Park campus.

The winners take office in July and will be sworn in when the board meets at the branch campus in Schuylkill County.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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