Voter turnout extremely low in Centre County


BELLEFONTE — Voter turnout in Centre County was extremely low on primary Election Day, according to Centre County election officials.

As results rolled into the Willowbank Building on Tuesday night, turnout was estimated to be around 18 percent in spite of a special election in the 12th Congressional District, which covers areas of Centre County.

Election officials report that 101,477 are registered in the county. There are a total of 44,669 registered Democrats, 42,770 registered Republicans and 14,038 registered non-partisan voters.

Voters who went to the polls had the opportunity to use the county’s new $1.2 million voting machines powered by Election Systems and Software. County officials reported no problems at the polls, though results lagged as they poured into Willowbank.

In the Centre County commissioners’ race, Democratic candidates Mark Higgins and Michael Pipe ran unopposed and punched their tickets for November.

Pipe said that he is thrilled to be on the ballot for a third term.

“I’m honored to receive the continued support of the voters of Centre County. There is still more work to be done to support our first responders, expand broadband connectivity and combat the opioid epidemic,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation about the progress we’ve made and bringing together people from all parts of the county to work on improving our communities.”

Higgins thanked voters for turning out at the polls for a race that featured very little drama.

“I want to thank everyone who voted today. I especially want to thank our poll workers. Elections are long days for them. The elections today will help determine the local officials who touch your lives almost every day,” Higgins said. “The school board members, municipal elected officials and county officials will interact with their communities daily.”

On the Republican side of the ballot, incumbent Steve Dershem advanced. At press time, the other slot was too close to call as Chris Exarchos, Vicki Wedler and Pat Romano, Jr. battled for second. Penn State student Tanner Day was running a distant fourth.

Dershem said that he’s looking forward to campaigning in the fall.

“I’m very grateful and honored by all the support I received today,” Dershem said. “I’m looking forward to a very vigorous campaign throughout the summer and fall.”

As of press time, only 37 of Centre County’s 91 precincts were reporting. Therefore, results for the Bellefonte school board race were not available.