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Pa. voters head to the polls to elect local officials

November 02, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Polls will be open until 8 p.m. Tuesday in Pennsylvania for a municipal election that will determine new and returning members of school boards, borough councils and boards of township supervisors.

Voter turnout for 2007's municipal election was 26 percent in Franklin County.

"I am hopeful we'll see 25 percent," said Bob Thomas, chairman of the Franklin County Commissioners.

The commissioners serve as the county election board in years they're not running.

Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski said he anticipates turnout will be less than 25 percent.

Thomas described Tuesday as a "very important election" because the people chosen have a direct effect on local issues.

"We've also got (races for) judges that serve the state of Pennsylvania at various levels," Thomas said.

Some of the top showdowns in Franklin County include contested races for the Waynesboro Area School Board, Antrim Township Board of Supervisors and Waynesboro Borough Council.

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On Monday, Thomas, Ziobrowski and fellow commissioner David Keller delivered ballots to the county's 75 polling places.

One precinct, Metal 3, has a new location.

Voters who had cast their choices at Fannett-Metal Elementary School should instead go to Brindle Auctioneering at 12625 Path Valley Road in Willow Hill, Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers said.

She encouraged people with questions about their polling place or voter registration status to go to

www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us. Questions also may be directed to the Voter Registration Office at 717-261-3886 or to the Election Board at 717-261-3810.

Thomas said voters will be handed two ballots -- one for races in the county and one for statewide races.

"When you vote, you want to turn the ballot over and vote both sides," Thomas said.

Ziobrowski asked that voters be responsible regarding write-in candidates. He asked that voters only write in the names of people eligible to serve in that position, not silly names like "Mickey Mouse."

"When the polls close, the poll workers are required to stay and count every write-in vote," Ziobrowski said, saying those votes are later cumulated by the election board.

Ziobrowski said he doesn't want to discourage legitimate write-ins, but he wants voters to be aware of the extra work involved with disingenuous ones. All of the thousands of write-in votes must be treated seriously, he said.

Thomas and Ziobrowski praised poll workers, precinct election judges and county employees who work behind the scenes, with Thomas calling them "first-class citizens."

Go to www.herald-mail.com throughout the day Tuesday for updates and results.

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