Voter apathy

LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS Lock Haven’s Fifth Ward poll workers, on the left side of the table, from front, are Evelyn Bitner, Carol Ordway and Diane Mills. They were the first to arrive with votes at the Piper Building last night. On the right side of the table are county workers, from front, Lynn Neff, Michelle Sonnie and Kim Phillips.

Turnout just 19 percent in Clinton County

From staff reports

LOCK HAVEN – Just over 19 percent of Clinton County’s 20,627 eligible voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election.

That’s an historically low number, unofficial returns show.

Clinton County showed 9,848 Republicans and 8,147 Democrats (plus 94 non-partisan voters) – a 1,701 voter edge for the GOP that began to grow prior to President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016.

LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS Poll workers from West Keating were the last to arrive just before 10 p.m. Tuesday. From left, Lisa Blazure and Kristy Serafini Brooks watch county worker Kim Phillips examine the ballots.

However, just 2,314 Republicans and 1,688 Democrats voted here on Tuesday, for a total of 4,003 ballots cast.

That was with 100 percent of the county’s precincts reporting about 10 last night … a very early night for returns due to a low number of races.

The first precinct to report was Lock Haven’s Fifth Ward, just before 8:30 p.m.

As the trio of poll workers– Evelyn Bitner, Carol Ordway and Diane Mills, handed over the ballots to county officials, you could see in their faces that it had been a long day. They said the turnout was slow and disappointing.

About 90 minutes later, at 9:55 p.m., the duo that election workers were waiting for from West Keating walked through the front doors of the Piper Building, a big blue bag in hand.

“Do we get a tee-shirt saying we survived the election?” Kristy Serafini Brooks asked with a big smile as she and Lisa Blazure turned over the votes from their precinct.

“We only had five voters,” Blazure said. “It’s been a long, long day. I left my home in Woolrich at 5 a.m. Now it’s 10 p.m. It’s been a long day.”

There are 22 voters registered in West Keating.

Blazure and Brooks are both employed by Clinton County and volunteered to man the West Keating precinct when those expected there couldn’t make it at the last minute.

“It sure has been a new experience for both of us,” Blazure said.

Asked what they did all day, Blazure said she caught up on some reading and also that she had a pair of binoculars and used them to watch some of the birds in the trees outside the polling place.

Brooks, a member of Renovo Borough Council, said she took a test… a management assistance test.

All-in-all, the couple said they enjoyed the day.

“A local lady even cooked dinner for us…. ham and green beans,” Blazure said.

Most poll workers had similar remarks as they arrived at the courthouse.

“It was slow… very slow,” and “very disappointed in the turnout,” were heard often.

Others said the low turnout was tiring and they were ready to get some sleep.

Still, they smiled and enjoyed a quick snack provided by the county before waving good-bye and heading home after another election day.

Wayne Township voters

OK liquor, beer sales

The sale of liquor and wholesale beer is coming to a formerly dry Wayne Township in Clinton County.

Two referendums were on Tuesday’s ballot in Wayne Township exclusively yesterday.

One question asked if voters wanted to allow the sale of liquor.

Unofficially, 146 people voted “yes” to that question, while 69 voted to keep the township dry.

Another question asked if voters wanted to allow the wholesale beer distributors in the township.

Approximately 150 people voted “yes” to that question, while 65 voted “no.”

For each question, 215 people voted.

Wayne Township as a whole saw 219 total ballots cast: 127 by Republicans, 91 by Democrats and 1 nonpartisan.

That equates to a 25.5 percent voter turnout in the township where Republicans hold a voter edge of 417 to 347 Democrats.