With only four local races on the ballot along with a choice for the next governor of Pennsylvania, 26,102 — or 55.67 percent — of Clearfield County’s 46,889 registered voters turned out in high numbers at the polls yesterday.
Four years ago when the last governor was elected, 41.64 percent of the county’s 50,848 registered voters made it to the polls.
Butch and Sharon Vaux vote every election, religiously.
“Since I’ve been 18,” said Sharon, as she and her husband stood outside their voting precinct at the Brady Township Community Center in Luthersburg.
They voted just before 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“Actually, this is late for us, we normally go earlier,” said Sharon.
“Well one of the things that I always say, I hear these people complain about our government and so forth, the first thing I do is ask them, ‘Did you vote?’ ‘Well no, I didn’t vote.’” Butch said. “’Then shut up! You have no right to say anything if you don’t vote.”
But vote residents did in Clearfield County.
At the Brady Township Community Center, Judge of Election Teresa Kennis said turnout was very good.
“We’ve been busy from the start,” said Kennis, noting that the site had 175 voters already by about 10:30 a.m. The precinct has more than 1,074 registered voters.
Deb Burkett, who has been a poll worker in Brady Township for 20 years, said there were at least 10 people waiting outside to vote before the polls even opened.
“For any election, that is unusual here,” she said. “The only time it was that big was for a Presidential election. But just for a governor election, this is pretty impressive.”
In the morning, Judge of Election Susan Gelfand at the Treasure Lake precinct in Sandy Township said voter turnout was “overwhelming” and “steady.”
Gelfand reported that 600 voters out of approximately 2,000 registered cast their ballot before 11 a.m. Tuesday.
“It’s been steady all day so far,” said Gelfand, noting the machines were “working wonderfully.”
In the City of DuBois, poll workers at the Third Ward Fire Hall on First Street reported more than 600 people voted by 5 p.m. With 1,318 registered voters, officials expected to be well over the 50 percent mark. During the primary election, they said only a couple of hundred people voted.
Also in the City of DuBois at the Christ Lutheran Church voting location, poll worker Tom Ruvitz said it had been “an extremely heavy turnout” with 460 people having voted just a little after 5 p.m. There are a total of approximately 1,300 registered voters at this location.
A poll worker at the Oklahoma Fire Co. in Sandy Township would only say “it’s been an extremely good turnout.”
The first precinct to report to Clearfield County “Election Central” at the county government administrative offices on Locust Street was Clearfield Borough Fourth Ward at 8:27 p.m.
According to Director of Elections Dawn Graham, there was only one issue reported among the county’s 70 precincts in Westover Borough where the precinct lost power. Graham said the outage was short and didn’t cause any problems for workers or voters. “It was off and then blip it was back on,” she explained.
Graham said the county’s election office was engaged throughout the day. “It’s been a good day. We’ve been busy. There has been heavy telephone traffic. It was not overwhelming but steady.” She said the majority of the calls were county residents checking to see where and if they were registered.
Clearfield’s Fourth Ward Judge of Election Janet Cowder estimated about 40 percent of voters cast ballots there Tuesday. “It was a busy day,” she said. Representatives of the second precinct to bring their ballots and materials to the elections office at 8:34 p.m., Clearfield First Ward, calculated 60 percent of registered voters had made their selections.
Bradford First Precinct said that polling place too saw nearly 60 percent of its registered voters. The representative said more than 580 voters turned out.
At the Lawrence Township’s Hyde precinct at 8:35 a.m., 117 voters had already cast their ballots. Also in Lawrence Township at the Glen Richey firehall, voter No. 175 cast his ballot shortly before 4:30 p.m.
There were 207 ballots cast at Morris Township Precinct No. 1 just after 4:30 p.m.
In Rush Township, Centre County, 446 of 1,281 registered voters had cast their ballots by 2:30 p.m. In the May primary, there were 307 voters with only 30 minutes left at the polls.
Rush Township North Precinct Judge of Elections Yvonne Maruschak said, “It has been very steady all day.”
There were about 50 people there by 7:30 a.m. and about 100 at 8 a.m. Maruschak said about 10 to 15 people were waiting at the door to vote when doors opened at 7 a.m. She said she expected steady voting all day with bigger numbers in the evening after voters got home from work.
Write-in votes are not included in the vote totals. All results are unofficial until they have been certified by the Clearfield County Board of Elections which will be done at a later date.
Also contributing to this story was Courier Express writer Elaine Haskins.