Turnout is down through the first week of the Penn State trustees election from where it was at the same point in the past two years’ heated contests.
The university is reporting that 14,170 alumni have voted as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. It’s the first of the weekly updates Penn State plans to provide during the election, which runs through May 8.
It’s a drop of about 35 percent from 2012, when 21,930 alumni had cast ballots through the first week. Almost half of those, 9,226, voted on the first day.
In 2013, 19,700 alumni had voted through the first week.
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Interest in the trustees election has surged since 2012, when 37,500 alumni cast ballots and shattered the previous record. Voting approached those numbers again in 2013 but failed to set a record.
The race this year has 31 candidates vying for three seats currently held by trustees Marianne Alexander, Jesse Arnelle and Joel Myers
Of the incumbents, only Myers, the founder of AccuWeather, is seeking re-election. He faces competition from a diverse field of candidates that includes lawyers, medical doctors, executives and a university president.
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 effect in July and will be sworn in when the board meets at the branch campus in Schuylkill County.
Last year, a group of challengers, Barbara Doran, William “Bill” Oldsey and Edward “Ted” Brown, supported by the group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship knocked two incumbents from their seats by handily topping a field of 39 candidates.