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22 percent of Centre County voters show up for primary

Campaign signs line the flower beds outside of the State College Municipal Building where a voting precinct had low turn out on Tuesday.
Campaign signs line the flower beds outside of the State College Municipal Building where a voting precinct had low turn out on Tuesday. adrey@centredaily.com

Centre County’s voter turnout was higher in Tuesday’s election than it had been in the previous two primary municipal elections.

In the county’s 91 precincts, 19,682 ballots were cast — a voter turnout of 22.43 percent, according to data from the Centre County elections office. Of those ballots cast, 10,499 were Democrats and 9,183 were Republicans.

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.

In the 2015 election, 13,171 ballots were cast — a voter turnout of 15.69 percent, according to the county elections office. In the 2013 election, 12,336 ballots were cast — a voter turnout of 14.34 percent.

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.

Of 2,056 registered voters in the precinct, 587 cast their ballot in the primary, 296 Democrats and 291 Republicans — a turnout of 28.55 percent.

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

In Bellefonte’s 5th Precinct on Tuesday, voter turnout was about average, if not slightly higher, for a primary election, according to election officials. In total, 267 ballots were cast out of 1,072 registered voters in the precinct, a 24.91 percent turnout.

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.

At 2:45 p.m., 26 people had voted in person, election official Sharon Gaddes said.

“It’s been so incredibly slow,” she said.

Total in the 29th Precinct, 61 ballots were cast. That’s a 4.62 percent voter turnout for the precinct.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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