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Franklin County voters go against state's trend for president

November 04, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - In raw numbers, it was the biggest turnout in the history of Franklin County, but Tuesday's election fell short of setting any records in terms of the percentage of registered voters going to the polls.

According to complete, but unofficial results, 57,785 people cast ballots Tuesday, well above the 49,291 who voted in the 2000 presidential election. That was 70.42 percent of the 82,054 registered voters in the county, compared to a 68 percent turnout four years ago.

Turnout, however, was well below the 85 percent vote in the 1992 presidential election, according to county election board statistics.

Democrat John Kerry won in Pennsylvania, but Franklin County voted overwhelmingly for Bush, giving him 70.5 percent of the vote with a 40,764-16,127 margin over Kerry. Minor party and write-in votes accounted for less than 1 percent of the presidential votes.

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The numbers in other races reflected the presidential vote.

Congressman Bill Shuster, R-9th, running for a third term, took 70 percent of the vote over Democrat Paul Politis, 40,668 to 15,413., according to the complete, but unofficial results. Running for a fifth four-year term, state Sen. Terry Punt, R-33rd, out-polled Democratic nominee Don Richards 45,139 to 11,165 in the county, capturing 78 percent of the vote.

Rob Kauffman, the GOP nominee for the 89th District seat to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, took 60 percent of the vote over Democrat Doug Harbach, 13,321 to 8,514.

County Commissioner G. Warren Elliott, a member of the election board, said Tuesday night the volume of paper ballots slowed the process of counting them with optical scanners. Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers said the last of the 75 precincts was counted at about 2:45 a.m.

The official count will begin Friday, according to Byers. Included in that will be 383 provisional ballots, according to the Voter Registration Office.

New this year, provisional ballots were offered to people whose registration could not be verified at the time they appeared at the polls, Byers said.

Byers said she knew of no legal challenges by voters or political parties during Tuesday's voting.

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