Last updated: May 22. 2013 12:39AM - 2227 Views
By Christopher J. Hughes

There was low voter turnout in Wilkes-Barre during primaries on tuesday.
There was low voter turnout in Wilkes-Barre during primaries on tuesday.
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Fewer than one in five registered Luzerne County voters went to the polls Tuesday for the Democratic and Republican primaries in which many ballots were uncontested and there were few countywide races to drive turnout.

Unofficial results showed turnout was only 19.8 percent, with 24,753 Democrats and 12,756 Republicans going to the polls.

Voter turnout was much higher in last municipal primary in May 2011, with one in three voters — about 33 percent — going to the polls. At that time, there were judicial races and the first slate of home rule County Council candidates on the ballot.

Turnout was 36 percent in the 2007 primary and 35 percent in the 2009 primary, county records show.

To complicate matters Tuesday evening, the county web server was down for much of the evening, forcing the media and others to go to the courthouse rotunda to get results from a projection screen.

Some municipal ballot slots will be filled by write-in selections because no candidates appeared on Tuesday’s primary election ballot. The county election board will evaluate those ballots before certifying them.

To receive a write-in nomination, a candidate must obtain the same number of votes as signatures required on nominating petitions for that office. For example, most municipal supervisor and council candidates must obtain 10 signatures on their nominating petitions, so write-in contenders must obtain at least that many votes.

Write-in votes will be tallied at the official count Friday, which begins at 9 a.m. in the second-floor jury room at the courthouse. The election board must meet five days later to vote to certify the election results, which will likely be Wednesday. The board also will vote at this meeting on any requests from candidates seeking credit for write-in votes cast under different spelling variations of their names.

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