Centre County Sees Low Voter Turnout

It's a disappointing day for election offices in Centre County, with low voter turnout.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - It's a disappointing day for election offices in Centre County, with low voter turnout.

Since polls opened Tuesday morning, officials with the Centre County Elections Office say voter numbers have been extremely low.

Turnout in Centre County is 2011 for municipal elections was 23%, down from 26% in 2009. This year, officials say those numbers will likely be about the same, or lower.

Experts say typically, any election that's not a presidential election will see lower numbers, but several contested races in Centre County have been hyped up for weeks.

Tons of people took to social media Tuesday to push voters to the polls, but their efforts don't seem to be working.

"They just don't seem to be able to motivate the voters," Joyce McKinley, with the Centre County Elections Office, said.

It's been a slow day at the polls.

"It has been very quiet here in the office, really," McKinley said. "Even phone calls."

McKinley is disappointed.

"Municipal elections are where you elect the people who are doing your local government," she said. "In our perspective, it's probably most important."

"We've got about 10 people total and that's for five precincts," Penn State Senior, Geddy McCullough said.

It's been a slow day for McCullough, too.

"I think part of it is a lot of students aren't aware that there's even an election taking place, or that they're allowed to vote in it," he said. "Even though there are so many of them registered."

He's working the polls at Penn State and says students haven't turned out.

"I think there's a little bit of election apathy in my generation," McCullough said. "I think that's part of it. Historically, people my age are, by far, the lowest turnout rate."

But social media sites, like Twitter, are pushing people to the polls. Since Tuesday morning, people have taken to the site to encourage others to vote, especially for contested races like State College Mayor.

"Who gets elected mayor is going to have a dramatic effect on life at Penn State," McCullough said. "It's very important."

But he says numbers aren't reflecting that drive.

"I don't know, it's just something I've come to get used to," McCullough said. "It's a little disappointing, but what can you do?"

Polls close Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.

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