Absentee ballots add to record
County turnout near 70 percent; recount begins
LOCK HAVEN — Approximately 578 absentee ballots have been added to the vote totals in Clinton County from Tuesday, with none of the race results changing beyond slight percentages.
And yes, those additional ballots pushed the county voter turnout to a modern-day record of 69.89 percent.
That means 15,581 voters out of a total 22,303 registered cast ballots in the county Tuesday, exceeding the 2008 record of 62.35 percent, or 14,350 voters out of 23,015 eligible that year.
County Voter Registration Director Maria Boileau was in her office most of Wednesday double checking the electoral process.
Despite the record turnout, election day went amazingly smooth, she said, with no major problems reported in any of the county’s 34 precincts.
“There was nothing unusual,” Boileau said. “It was just a very, very long day and a little sleep.”
One very good thing about the huge turnout was that the county voter registration roll is getting a needed update, as a good number of people who have not voted for some time came to the polls Tuesday, she said.
With the addition of absentee votes, Republican Donald Trump earned 64.6 percent of the county vote over Democrat Hillary Clinton, who received 30.6 percent.
Pennsylvania Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey hit 57.3 percent to Democrat Katie McGinty’s 36.2 percent in the county.
Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson remained the top vote-getter in the county from Tuesday, garnering 10,553 ballots to Democrat Kerith Strano Taylor’s 4,517.
Also with the added absentee ballots counted, Democratic state Rep. Mike Hanna of the 76th House District shows 8,274 votes to Republican challenger Stephanie Borowicz’s 7,138, expanding his lead slightly from Tuesday night’s count.
That district also includes 16 municipalities in eastern Centre County, where Hanna actually ended slightly behind Borowicz, 4,911 to 4,956.
That leaves the as-yet unofficial results in the76th District as 13,185 for Hanna to 12.094 for Borowicz.
Boileau said the Clinton County office issued 674 absentee ballots, of which 578 were returned.
The returned ballots represented voters serving in the military, or those who were unable to visit the precincts due to illness.
The next official action of the election will be the business of the recount board, which begins its work Monday.
“That should take a day or longer,” Boileau said.
The recount board is comprised of Kathy Merrill of the assessment office, Kristy Brooks from the treasurer’s office, county Chief Clerk Jann Myers, and Boileau.
Today, officials will conduct a review of any provisional ballots that have been submitted.
More than 115 provisional ballots were submitted, Boileau said.
That number is “usually between five and 10,” she noted.
Boileau said those ballots, representing votes cast by people whose names were not listed in the specific precinct or who were required to have but failed to deliver proper identification, will be verified.
She expressed confidence that the recount board, which meets behind closed doors, will have little trouble with the job.
And while she believes no changes will occur with the winners, she said she certainly does not have a “crystal ball.”
After the results are officially tabulated, she said, it’s the responsibility of the county commissioners to certify the election.
In the typical general election, the process of certifying election results begins as soon as the polls are closed.
Election officials at the polling place count the votes and send the totals, or “returns,” to a county canvassing board.
The canvassing board proceeds to count and verify, or “canvass,” the various precinct votes and make determinations on the election of county and local officials.
Typically, the canvassing board or county clerk issues a certificate of election to the winners of local offices.
The canvassing board also certifies vote totals for state and federal offices that extend beyond the county limits.
These are offices such as president, U.S. senator and representative, governor, state auditor, state attorney general, and other state executive branch offices.
The canvassing board sends the certified vote totals for the elections to a state canvassing board, and the state board also certifies the elections.