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‘Typical’ municipal primary shows spike in Democratic turnout

In some ways, the 2017 municipal primary in Centre County was kind of typical, according to elections Director Joyce McKinley.

The primary after a presidential year is seldom an election with a lot of excitement. It’s school boards and mayors and a lot of offices that might have no one at all vying for them, such as constable.

The turnout is generally lower than a high profile one. The Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton race in November saw 63 percent, or 77,000, of the Centre County registered voters show up at the polls. Even in those big years, fewer show up for primaries, where voters have to declare a party. The 2016 primary had only half as many as the general election.

But off years? It’s a lot less. In 2015, 13,171 voters in total came to the polls for the primary. Just 5,729 were Democrats to 7,433 Republicans.

On Tuesday, the numbers were actually higher for Democrats, which might have been because that was the party with the biggest contested race, the battle for district attorney.

Final numbers came in at 19,682 in total, about 22 percent of the electorate. Of those, 10,499, or 53 percent, were Democrats. Republicans came in at 9,183.

The DA race showed what that turnout meant. The apparent winner of the race is challenger Bernie Cantorna, who picked up 7,156 votes. That was 1,427 more than all the votes cast by Democrats in 2015.

McKinley said the election went off well, with no delays or problems.

“From our prospective, which is having everything prepared and in place, it was right on target,” she said.

The election is not over yet. While ballots cast for delineated candidates were counted Tuesday, there are others that are still in play. There were 4,568 Republican write-in votes for DA.

“Write in votes will be verified and tabulated by the Official Count Board and that board convenes on Friday... and continue until completed. We anticipate it will the earliest early next week but could go into the second week,” McKinley said. “Once the Official Count Board is completed, the Pre-Certification of Computation of Election is completed and then there is a five-day window before the Final Certification certifies the results of the election.”

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

DA Stacy Parks Miller statement

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller took to Facebook to release a statement about the election on Wednesday.

Parks Miller said in her post that she will be focusing on work for the remainder of her term.

“I will continue to do my job with the highest levels of skill and integrity and I have loved every minute of helping victims and Centre County. That is why I ran for this office to begin with. That is all I ever wanted to do,” she said.

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