More than 26,800 Penn State alumni have voted over the past two weeks in the university’s contentious election for three seats to its board of trustees.
According to the university, 26,861 alumni cast ballots by the close of business Wednesday, and the number was a slightly below the count last year at this time, which was 27,132.
Since the close of business April 17, nearly 5,000 alumni voted. That time frame included the Blue-White weekend, which saw several candidates campaigning for votes at tailgates and other events in what was the largest gathering of alumni in one place during the election.
The election started off strong, with more than 9,200 voting the first day, April 10. Another 12,000 voted in the first week, but the latest numbers signal a cooling off of the number of alumni who are voting.
Alumni can vote through the morning of May 2.
Penn State spokesman David La Torre said the accounting firm KPMG will audit the election, as the company did last year.
Incumbents Paul Suhey and Stephanie Deviney have been the subject of attack ads and billboards, and Suhey was blasted by the Paterno family for voting to fire then-head football coach Joe Paterno, for whom Suhey played in the 1970s.
The grassroots alumni group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship have endorsed three candidates — Edward “Ted” Brown, Barbara Doran and William “Bill” Oldsey — in the hope of unseating the incumbents.
The ballot comprises 39 candidates, although two — Nittany Lion letterman Rudy Glocker and former trustee Ben Novak — have withdrawn and are supporting Brown, Doran and Oldsey.
Around Beaver Stadium last weekend, several alumni said they were voting for reform candidates. Others said they had not voted and planned to review the list of candidates before deciding.
The winners will be announced at the May 3 board of trustees meeting on campus. Winners will take office July 1.