For all the commercials broadcast and bulk mail sent in the race for the 28th Senate District, fewer than 25,000 voters are expected to show up for Tuesday's special election.

Politicos say this has been the most expensive election ever in York County, with opposing camps blasting residents with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spending to woo voters.

But turnout is expected to hover around the 15 percent of registered voters that cast ballots in a typical municipal primary, said Nikki Suchanic, York County's director of Elections and Voter Registration.

Suchanic said there are no special election numbers to compare, as this is the first stand-alone special election she can recall in her 15 years with the department.

Linda Small, candidate for PA Senate.
Linda Small, candidate for PA Senate.

Voters haven't rushed to register despite the hotly contested race in the 28th District, which has 163,600 registered voters: 75,500 Republicans, 62,555 Democrats and 25,545 independent or third party voters, Suchanic said.

Sound it out: On the ballot are Republican Rep. Ron Miller of Jacobus and Democrat Linda Small of New Freedom, but voters of any party affiliation can vote for a candidate of any affiliation in Tuesday's special election.

They can also write names into the electronic voting machines, and at least one campaign has been launched on this concept. Write-in candidate Scott Wagner, a Republican from Spring Garden Township, isn't on the ballot, but is asking voters to write in his name.


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Those who choose to write in any candidate will want to be careful to spell the name correctly or as close as possible, as grossly misspelled names might not be accepted for the intended candidate, Suchanic said.

In some public forums, Wagner has been mistakenly referred to as Scott Walker, which is also the name of Wisconsin's governor. Also a Republican, Scott Walker made national news after protests over his controversial budget plan to change collective bargaining rights and make steep cuts to education and Medicaid.

Suchanic said slight misspellings of names are accepted, but she declined to say Monday whether "Scott Walker" would be accepted for Scott Wagner.

"I don't even want to make a determination at this point as to what I'm going to count," she said. "In York County, we go by the intent of the voter for determining (which votes count for which candidates)."

The election is scheduled for preliminary certification Monday, March 24. Candidates have the right to appeal the county's determination through a petition to the Court of Common Pleas, she said.

Who votes: Voters cast ballots at their normal polling places, unless they've been otherwise notified by the county, Suchanic said. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The special election, which was called after former Sen. Mike Waugh announced his resignation in January, is being held to fill the seat through the end of the Nov. 30 session. The May 20 primary will determine who is forwarded to the ballot for the Nov. 4 election, which will determine who fills the Senate seat for a full four-year term, starting in January 2015.

New Senate district boundaries are in place for the special election, so voters must be registered in one of the following municipalities:

Chanceford, Codorus, East Hopewell, Fawn, Heidelberg, Hellam, Hopewell, Lower Chanceford, Lower Windsor, Manchester, Manheim, North Codorus, North Hopewell, Paradise, Peach Bottom, Shrewsbury, Spring Garden, Springfield, West Manchester, Windsor and York townships and Cross Roads, Dallastown, Delta, East Prospect, Fawn Grove, Felton, Glen Rock, Hallam, Jacobus, Jefferson, Loganville, New Freedom, New Salem, North York, Railroad, Red Lion, Seven Valleys, Shrewsbury, Spring Grove, Stewartstown, West York, Windsor, Winterstown, Wrightsville, Yoe and Yorkana boroughs, as well as all of York City.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.