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Voter turnout mixed in Centre Region

Hundreds of Harris Township voters line up outside of Zion Lutheran Church to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The 56th Precinct is seeing a higher-than-expected turnout for a primary election.
Hundreds of Harris Township voters line up outside of Zion Lutheran Church to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The 56th Precinct is seeing a higher-than-expected turnout for a primary election. Centre Daily Times, file

In the 56th Precinct, voter turnout was higher than expected.

At the polling place at Zion Lutheran Church in Boalsburg, election official Sharon Martin said turnout had been steady all day.

At 5:30 p.m., there had been about 500 voters, she said, adding that she expected about 100 to 150 more by 7:30 p.m.

Normally the turnout for this type of election would be between 300 and 350, Martin said.

In the fall’s presidential election, the precinct of 2,460 voters saw a 74.8 percent voter turnout, with 1,840 ballots cast.

In Bellefonte’s 5th Precinct on Tuesday, voter turnout was about average if not slightly higher for a primary election.

At 5 p.m., 194 residents had cast their ballots.

By about 2:15 p.m., 30 people had voted at the HUB-Robeson Center on Penn State’s campus. State College precincts 24, 25, 27, 33 vote there, along with some students living in the 44th Precinct.

Election officials said more absentee ballots than usual were received for a primary election — 29. But a lot more absentee ballots were requested than returned.

Polling at the State College Municipal Building, where the 29th Precinct votes, was also off to a sluggish start.

As of 2:45 p.m., 26 people had voted and there were 13 absentee ballots, election official Sharon Gaddes said.

“It’s been so incredibly slow,” she said, adding that she doesn’t expect much of an uptick after the workday ends.

In the 2015 primary municipal election, 83,963 were registered to vote in Centre County and 13,171 ballots were cast, a voter turnout of 15.69 percent, according to data from the county elections office. Democrats cast 5,729 ballots and Republicans cast 7,433 ballots, with a voter turnout of 13.32 and 18.01 percent, respectively.

As of May 2, 107,707 people are registered to vote in the county. Of those, 44,340 are Democrats, 43,400 are Republicans and 13,613 have no affiliation, according to the elections office. Libertarians and Green Party members make up 916 and 5,438 are listed as other.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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