How Centre County Voted in the Primary Election
June 06, 2020 1:10 PM
by Geoff Rushton
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After four days of tallying nearly 20,000 mail-in ballots, the Centre County Office of Elections on Friday completed its unofficial vote count for Tuesday's primary election.

While in-person turnout on Tuesday was low at about 15 percent of registered Democrats and Republicans, the high number of mail-in ballots resulted in an overall voter turnout of 36.35 percent. That's less than 1 percent lower than turnout for the 2016 primary, when there were more contested races on the ballot and the country was not in the midst of a pandemic.

In total, 32,399 ballots were cast in the county, 19,114 of which were mail-in ballots — about 59 percent. It was the first election in Pennsylvania to allow no-excuse mail-in voting under bipartisan legislation signed into law last fall.

Democratic voters in Centre County cast about two and a half times as many mail-in and absentee ballots as Republicans. On election day, twice as many Republicans went to the polls than Democrats, but with mail-in ballots Democratic turnout was about 5 percent higher.

Here's a breakdown of voting by party:

Democrat

Registered voters: 46,278

Total ballots cast : 17,997

Mail-in ballots: 13,678

In-person ballots: 4,319

Voter turnout: 38.89%

Republican

Registered voters: 42,843

Total ballots cast: 14,402

Mail-in ballots: 5,436

In-person ballots: 8,966

Voter turnout: 33.62%

As counties handled the surge in mail-in ballots for the first time, it was expected elections offices statewide would need days to tally them all. Some are continuing to count as of Saturday.

Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said earlier this week that the county will be "scaling up" for the general election and expects unofficial results from the Nov. 3 vote will be available in the early morning hours of Nov. 4.

Though not all the counts are completed President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were, unsurprisingly, declared winners of the Republican and Democratic nominations for president in Pennsylvania almost immediately after polls closed on Tuesday night.

In Centre County, Biden won 70.67 percent of Democrats, with 12,496 votes. Bernie Sanders garnered 24.10 percent, or 4,261 votes. Tulsi Gabbard (422 votes) and write-ins (504) represented the remainder of votes for president.

On the Republican side, Trump won 12,127 votes (86.94 percent). Bill Weld received 1,053 votes (7.55 percent) and Rocky De La Fuente 276 (1.3 percent), with 496 write-ins.

In the race for Democratic nominee for state auditor general, state Rep. Scott Conklin, of Rush Township, won Centre County handily with 71 percent of the vote, but appears to have lost the statewide election. With 99 percent of districts reporting on Saturday, Michael Lamb had 340,896 votes (32.1 percent) and Nina Ahmad had 325,685 (30.67 percent). Conklin was a distant third with 8.8 percent of the vote.

Timothy DeFoor was unopposed on the Republican ballot for auditor general.

Conklin also ran unopposed on the Democratic ballot for reelection as representative for the 77th legislative district.

All other races for elected offices on Centre County ballots were unopposed.

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