Archive

Sparse voter turnout projected in Armstrong County | TribLIVE.com
News

Sparse voter turnout projected in Armstrong County

A sparse ballot has Armstrong County officials forecasting a dismal turnout for Tuesday’s elections.

Elections Director Wendy Buzard gave an “optimistic estimate” that 20 to 25 percent of 44,100 registered voters will cast ballots in the elections that feature Republican Gov. Tom Corbett against Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, but few other contested races.

“There aren’t that many races on the ballot this time, and two of them are unopposed,” Buzard said. “I don’t think the gubernatorial and congressional races are going to be enough to bring people out.”

Buzard’s forecasted turnout represents a sharp drop in voters compared to the last gubernatorial race in 2010, when 22,734 county voters cast ballots. But in that year, Armstrong County had contested races for the U.S. Senate, House and four state representative seats.

This year, Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City, and Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion, are running unopposed to keep their state House seats. In the 55th District that includes only Leechburg in Armstrong County, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Washington Township, is facing off against Brian Panichelle, R-Latrobe. The only county-wide contested race is in the 3rd Congressional District, where Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, is running against Dan Lavallee, D-Cranberry Township.

It’s unusual to see such a low turnout forecasted for a gubernatorial election, said Mary Beth Kuznik, founder and director of VotePA, an organization advocating for voters’ rights.

“Most voters see this as the second-biggest election we have, behind the presidential race,” Kuznik said. “Frankly, gubernatorial and local races affect the day-to-day lives of people more than the national races, but for some reason, people don’t seem to think they’re as important.”

Kuznik said she thinks voters have become disenfranchised with the partisan political system at both the state and national level, which may keep them from voting.

“If someone is tired of the political gridlock, staying home isn’t the way to change it,” Kuznik said. “Every vote matters, so we need to see as many people voting as possible.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected].


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.