Centre County voters headed to the polls Tuesday to vote in the Pennsylvania primary election. Though it was the first election under the state's new congressional district map, several local voters said they weren't aware of the change or how it affected them.
A total of 18,174 ballots were cast at Centre County's 91 precincts, which reflects a 21 percent voter turnout, according to data from the Centre County elections office.
Centre County had 107,642 registered voters as of April 30, including 44,430 Democrats, 43,160 Republicans and 13,805 with no affiliation, according to the elections office.
"As Americans, we have a right and obligation to vote," Gerald McGinnis, elections judge at precinct 64 in Patton Township, said. "If you don’t vote, then you have really given up your right to complain or say anything about what is going on."
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in February ruled that the previous congressional district map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, so a new map was issued.
The redrawn map splits Centre County in two, with the majority of the county in the 15th Congressional District. However, much of State College and the southeastern part of the county are in the 12th District. Halfmoon Township is the only township in the county that isn't completely in one district — residents to the west are in the 15th and those in the eastern half are in the 12th.
Hilary Kleckner, Halfmoon Township elections judge at Precinct 55, said having the township split between the districts made things a little "awkward." The precinct had two sets of record books and two sets of ballots.
She said there wasn't much confusion among voters, but the change did slow down the voting process a little bit because they had to sort through two sets of voter materials.
Halfmoon Township resident Debra Harrington said she didn't know anything about the new districts, only that Marc Friedenberg, a Democratic candidate for the 12th District, campaigned in her neighborhood so that's who she was voting for.
Gwen Stimely, of Halfmoon Township, said she had to do a lot of research and called the county elections office to find out what district she was in. She said it was somewhat confusing but it wasn't hard to find out which candidates would be on her ballot.
"It seems kind of silly, but what do I know?" Halfmoon Township resident Karl Polka said of the redistricting.
Election results remain unofficial until certified by the Board of Elections.