Elections

Have you voted yet? Here’s what to know about primary election day in Centre County

Where is your polling place for the primary and Pa. special election?

A special election for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District will be held May 21, the same day as the primary election. Here's what to know about candidates and where to find your polling place.
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A special election for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District will be held May 21, the same day as the primary election. Here's what to know about candidates and where to find your polling place.

Your former social studies teacher isn’t proud that you’re here right now, but consider us your substitute for the day.

Tuesday is Centre County’s municipal primary election and a special election for voters in the state’s 12th Congressional District.

Republican Fred Keller and Democrat Marc Friedenberg are vying to fill the vacancy left by Tom Marino’s resignation in January. The winner is set to be elected to a two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Where can I vote?

Registered voters can visit the Centre County website to find their polling places. The location is also printed on voter identification cards.

When can I vote?

Polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and are scheduled to close at 8 p.m.

Polls are generally busiest between 4 and 7 p.m., county Elections Director Joyce McKinley said.

When contacted about 1:30 p.m., McKinley said the lines were “flowing very well.” Citizens are able to vote in less than 15 minutes, she said.

One polling location — Mount Nittany United Methodist Church, 1500 E. Branch Road, State College — did not open as scheduled because of a medical emergency. The county’s election office became aware of the situation about 6:30 a.m. and the location eventually opened about 7:15 a.m.

“In my 57 years, that’s only the second time in a polling place that I am aware of,” McKinley said. “They were about 15 minutes late, but everything is up and running.”

What do I need to bring?

Those voting at their polling place for the first time must bring some form of identification. All others just need clothes and a well-informed, decision-making mindset.

Who can I vote for?

Commissioners, controller, sheriff, treasurer, prothonotary, recorder of deeds, register of wills, coroner, district judges, school board members, municipal supervisors, council members and a Superior Court judge.

Voters in the 12th Congressional District will be able to vote for a new congressman. All voters, regardless of party affiliation, can cast a ballot for this election.

What’s new this year?

The machines. The county commissioners in February approved the purchase of 200 new voting machines to comply with a Department of State mandate issued in April 2018. The machines cost $1.2 million.

The new voting machines are similar to the old ones, but Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Pipe previously said the machines improve ADA accessibility and give the county more safeguards.

Jonathan Marks, Commissioner for the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, and members of the Pennsylvania Department of State held an expo to show Centre County voters new voting equipment.

The machines “have the normal little glitches that you have regardless of any election,” though some are human error. Voters are not affected, McKinley said.

“At this point in time, we are very pleased with the new equipment and it is working very well,” McKinley said. “The equipment is what we anticipated and (we’re) very pleased with it.”

Where can I see the results?

The county plans to post the results on its website after the polls close, and check back at centredaily.com for coverage of the races.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.
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