EDITORIAL: Write-in winners a win for electoral system

York Dispatch
  • York City Council President Michael Helfrich has won the Republican nomination for York City mayor.
  • Helfrich received 223 write-in votes during the May primary to earn the Republican nomination.
  • Helfrich will face off vs. incumbent Kim Bracey during the November municipal election.

When it comes to elections, choice is good thing.

In fact, without choice, it’s not actually an election.

City Councilman Michael Helfrich discusses plans for his new term during election night at the Democratic Party Headquarters on South Duke Street in York on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. Helfrich recently won the Republican nomination in the 2017 York City mayoral race through write-in votes. Dawn J. Sagert - dsagert@yorkdispatch.com

It’s merely a coronation.

That’s why it was very welcome news last week when the York County Voting and Elections Office released the list of primary write-in winners.

There were some interesting results from around the county, most notably in the York City mayoral election.

Incumbent Kim Bracey will have an opponent in the Nov. 7 municipal election.

York City Council President Michael Helfrich secured the Republican nomination to unseat Bracey.

Bracey defeated Helfrich by 311 votes for the Democratic mayoral nomination during the May 16 primary.

Candidates earn second chances via write-in votes

Helfrich, however, picked up 223 write-in votes during that same primary from the 320 York City Republicans who cast votes in the mayor’s race. That earned Helfrich the Republican nomination for the November ballot.

That means there will be a real race for mayor in the fall, and that all York City voters will have a voice in picking the city’s next leader.

That’s not meant as a criticism of Bracey’s tenure as mayor or as an endorsement for Helfrich.

It’s simply an endorsement for our electoral system. That system just doesn’t work without choices.

Red Lion: The York City mayoral race wasn’t the only one where write-in voters made sure their pens made a difference.

In an eight-candidate race for four Republican nominations for Red Lion Borough Council, incumbents Tony Musso and Cynthia Barley and challengers Christopher Minnich and Stephanie Weaver came out on top.

Incumbent Red Lion Councilwoman Danielle Kabacinski lost out in her re-election bid during the GOP primary, but she will have a second chance at retaining her seat in November after picking up the third-most write-in votes in the Democratic council primary.

Musso, Minnich and Barley also secured Democratic nominations via write-in ballots.

Red Lion facing trespass suit amid intercouncil conflicts

So, in November, Red Lion voters will at least have some choice.

Both the candidates and the voters involved should be congratulated.

The candidates deserve credit for actively courting write-in voters, and the voters should receive accolades for taking the time and effort to actually write in their choices.

They ensured at least a couple of York County November races will have real meaning and real choices.

No matter who ends up winning in the fall, our electoral system will emerge as the real victor.