LOCK HAVEN - Incoming Clinton County Director of Elections Maria Boileau and outgoing Director Connie Bame looked over an office filled with blue bags containing election material and pronounced the county well prepared for next Tuesday's Primary Election.
Long-time Voter Registrar Connie Bame is retiring in July after 26 years of service and she and Boileau are working through the upcoming election cycle so Boileau can familiarize herself to the duties attached to her new position.
"We're ready," Bame said. "It's working out well and she's learning the job ... That's the whole purpose."
"There's a pretty big learning curve," Boileau said, "so I'm grateful to have that opportunity to learn through an election and especially to work with an experienced - and patient - professional."
According to Bame, there are 10,138 Democratic Party members registered to vote in Clinton County this election, and 9,513 Republican Party voters, with 2,141 eligible voters in other categories.
With no substantial local races in this election, the turnout is expected to be light, Bame said, although some state-level challenges might draw interested voters to the polls.
On the Democratic side, Presidential candidate and incumbent Barack Obama is unopposed; incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. faces off with Allegheny County resident Joseph John Vodvarka; and voters can choose between Kathleen G. Kane of Lackawanna County and Patrick Murphy of Bucks County as the Democratic candidate for state attorney general.
Other Democratic candidates include York County's Eugene Depasquale for auditor general; Robert McCord of Montgomery County for state treasurer; Charles Dumas of Centre County for Fifth Congressional District representative; John N. Wozniak for state senator of the 35th District, and State Rep.; Mike Hanna of Lock Haven, seeking another term as 76th District representative.
Candidates for delegates to the Democratic Convention include Christine Mitchell, Sean Matthew Miller, William Robert Van Saun, Mike Hanna, Linda S. McCabe, Nancy R. Chiswick and alternate Edward Scurry, all committed to Obama.
On the Republican side of the ballot, there are still choices for presidential candidate, although the race has all but won by Mitt Romney in earlier state primaries.
The candidates include Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.
For U.S. senator, five Republican candidates are looking to face off against Casey.
They include David Alan Christian of Bucks county, Marc A. Scaringi of Cumberland County, Chester County's Steven Welch, Tom Smith of Armstrong County and Sam Rohrer of Berks County.
Other Republican candidates include David J. Freed of Cumberland County for attorney general; auditor general candidates Frank Pinto and John Maher of Dauphin and Allegheny counties, respectively; state treasurer candidate Diana Irey Vaughan, and Glenn Thompson of Centre County running unchallenged for U.S. representative of the Fifth District. Timothy P. Houser of Cambria County is also on the ballot as the GOP candidate for state senator of the 35th District.
Candidates for delegates to the Republican National Convention include Mary Styn, Tom Martin, Joyce Haas, Jacob D. Corman III, Thomas G. Brown, Lee A. Mitchell. Alternates are Verel Salmon, Sheila Sterrett, Samuel Settle, Deborah Flavin, Kristine Eng and Mark Brady; and Republican Committeeman Craig A. Seasholtz.
The three Clinton County commissioners, Joel Long, Pete Smeltz and Jeff Snyder, said they've prepared extensively for this election, as Smeltz and Snyder are both new to the game after being elected last November.
The board has prepared by calling in the county judges of election to discuss any concerns or issues that might arise, and a conference has also been held with the local county employees and volunteers charged with distributing materials and assisting with the arrival of ballot machines come Tuesday.
Area residents will also face a new happening: While they might have been voting for decades and they might recognized the poll officials by name and face, they will still be asked for an identification card.
The primaries are being used as as run-through for a new law passed by Pennsylvania for the November General Election.
The state has required that photo IDs must be presented by citizens who wish to vote.
Commissioner Smeltz emphasized that area residents who do not have valid IDs can obtain one "free of charge" at PennDOT Driver's License Centers.
According to Smeltz, the local center in McElhattan isn't part of that process, so local county voters will have to travel to Pleasant Gap or Williamsport to obtain their free IDs.
The voting places open promptly at 7 a.m. and citizens can participate in the democratic process until they close at 8 p.m.
Bame said none of the polling places has changed from the 2011 election, so area residents should be very familiar with the locations.
"I grew up in an urban area (Harrisburg) so it was common for us to be asked for our identification," Smeltz said. "My issue is that I don't want to see it made hard or costly for area residents to vote, and I don't believe that voter fraud exists in Clinton County."
Long characterized the new voter ID law as an unnecessary move and said the state legislature should have given counties the option of asking or not asking for IDs.
Snyder said he was bowing to the inevitable, and hoped the primary served to educate voters to the new process.