York County Election Day turnout might not hit 20 percent


With the municipal election less than two weeks away, Republicans will continue being the majority party for registered voters in York County.

In York County, a total of 270,244 voters registered in time for the November election, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Of those, 96,318 are registered Democrats, 131,110 are Republican, and 42,816 were either registered with another party or not affiliated with any party, the data shows.

But that doesn't mean the GOP is guaranteed to walk away with wins over Democratic opponents on Nov. 3.

Drumming up support: "While there is a disparity, the Democratic Party of York County is working to turn out our voters on Nov. 3 in support of our candidates," said Chad Baker, the party's chairman. "Through our normal efforts, we are contacting voters, discussing with them the importance of this election and hopefully encouraging our supporters to get out to vote in the process."

Though the local GOP holds a wide majority, Alex Shorb, head of the local party, said members aren't assuming the best but are instead gearing up to hit the polls in support of their candidates.

"I never take anything for granted," he said.

Turnout: Municipal elections have traditionally seen low voter turnout compared to presidential elections.

In 2011, the last time county commissioners were on the ballot, election day voter turnout was a measly 14 percent.

In 2007, another year when commissioners were on ballot, turnout hit 21 percent, according to the county elections and voter registration office.

When the last presidential election was held in 2012, 65 percent of the county's voters turned out to the polls. Counting absentee ballots, 68 percent of all registered voters cast their ballots in that election.

The hotly contested commissioners race this year could draw voters to the polls, said Nikki Suchanic, head of the county elections and voter registration office.

Five candidates are running for three seats on the county's board of commissioners.

"I think that countywide office race will generate some interest," she said.

She predicted Election Day voter turnout will hover around the 18 or 19 percent mark.

Go vote: Some voters have already turned their sights to the 2016 election, largely driven by the presidential race. But local party officials reiterated the importance of the upcoming municipal election, which includes numerous races.

"The (state) Supreme Court justices rule on so many different cases which affect us daily, and it is important for voters to recognize this fact," Baker said. "In fact, due to the role of the Supreme Court justices when redistricting voting districts, they effectively can change the outcome of some of the more appealing elections in the future."

Voters will decide who of the six candidates — three Republicans and three Democrats — will be elected to three seats on the state's highest court. It's the first time in history voters will elect so many justices in a single election.

Three candidates are running for two open seats in York County Court of Common Pleas.

Locally, elected school board members decide education priorities, and borough and township officials decide, for example, which streets are repaved and which services are offered to residents.

"The group the people you'll be voting for on Nov. 3 will have a bigger impact on their lives," Baker said.

— Reach Greg Gross at