York candidates eagerly await poll results, turnout 'surprisingly low'
At the close of polls at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, York County candidates gathered with friends, families and supporters at several county watch parties as they waited for results to roll in.
Many were encouraged by the numbers, boosted by good feedback earlier in the day.
"I'm really excited about the good vibes I'm getting," said Judith Higgins, who stopped at 15 polls Tuesday.
Higgins, a first-time candidate running in the Democratic primary for state Senate against West York Mayor Shawn Mauck, waited with supporters at Rockfish Public House, in York City.
With 92 percent of the votes in at 10:40 p.m., Higgins was leading with 56.8 percent of the vote to Mauck's 42.6 percent.
Mauck, around the corner at Mudhook Brewing Co., said he had seen huge success with his home borough.
"Win or lose tonight, they always have my heart," he said.
Shavonia Corbin-Johnson, also celebrating her efforts at Rockfish, was expecting her race for the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District to be close, which she says is typical in a primary — especially in an off-presidential year.
The race for the 10th District, which includes northern York County, Dauphin County and part of Cumberland County, had not been called by The Associated Press at 10:40 p.m.
Why they voted: As they watched the numbers come in, candidates shared why they believed county residents voted for them.
"I have a record of standing up for the people over the status quo of Harrisburg, and I think that message resonated," said state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, monitoring polls at Wyndam Garden Hotel, in West Manchester Township.
She won the race for a state Senate seat in the Republican primary against Julie Wheeler, with Phillips-Hill picking up 65 percent of the vote.
Mauck said residents know he's willing to work with them and hear their solutions.
"Many times they have some really good ideas," he said.
Some candidates believed their message of inclusion connected with voters.
Corbin-Johnson hopes to keep the diversity on her campaign team, which she says spans race, gender, sexual orientation and political affiliation.
She plans to bring values of authenticity and inclusion to Capitol Hill.
"I think either way this is a winning situation, and I've shown women can run," Higgins said, adding that hearing from other women who feel they can do it, too, is the most exciting part.
Low turnout: Voter turnout for the May 15 primary election had been "surprisingly low" across the county for both parties, according to York County party chairs, when reached shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Chad Baker, chair of the York County Democrats, said primaries are always lower, but competitive races such as that of representative in the 10th Congressional District — in which Democrats have four candidates — usually draw more to the polls.
York County Republican Chair Alex Shorb reported similar results for the GOP.
He said the county saw an expected surge of voters in the morning, but it was lower than usual. After a lull throughout the day with an uptick during lunchtime, he was waiting to see if turnout would rise as residents got off work.
Typically, factors such as the weather can have an effect, but it was "absolutely perfect" earlier in the day.
Dissatisfaction: Both see it as more of a symptom of a larger, general dissatisfaction with politics.
"It has to do with excitement," Shorb said. "Just some air out of the bubble after the 2016 presidential cycle."
People are fed up with some of the opinion coverage on politics, which lends to them not being as engaged right now, he said.
"People are tired of politics," Baker agreed. "It’s been very divisive for the past few years. People are turned off by the whole process."
"We're just ready to hit the ground running tomorrow," he said.
For Shorb, results remain up in the air.
"I would not be surprised if some races are closer than we think, and some might have a wider margin," he said.
Crash: An issue occurred shortly after polls opened at 7 a.m. when a vehicle struck the Codorus Township building as residents were arriving to cast their votes there.
State police and Jefferson Fire Co. firefighters were on the scene. Fire Chief Troy Snyder said an older woman was trying to park her car to go vote Tuesday.
"She didn't realize it wasn't in park, and the car went forward and into the building," he said.
The building sustained moderate damage, according to the chief. He said the woman refused to go to the hospital, and the car was still driveable.
The polling place at 4631 Shaffers Church Road was briefly closed as poll workers moved voting machines to another part of the building.
Only a few voters were there when the crash occurred around 7:15 a.m., but only one declined to wait, saying he would return later.