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Voter Registration Lower Than Expected

The numbers are in and a local school district with a major project on the line is disappointed in voter registration turnout.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - The numbers are in and a local school district with a major project on the line is disappointed in voter registration turnout.

The fate of a major high school renovation project in State College will be decided May 20. After somewhat disappointed voter registration numbers, district officials are making their last push to encourage residents to voice their opinions.

About 107,000 voters are registered in Centre County to vote in the primary election in May. Of that number, just over 71,000 people will have the opportunity to vote on the State High project.

School officials said after months of information sessions and meetings, they're surprised to see a lower number of registered voters.

"It's an important community decision," State College Area School District Public Information Specialist, Julie Miller, said.

An important decision Miller is hoping voters will speak up about.

"This is something new. We don't see a referendum very often in Pennsylvania, certainly not one for a high school building project," she said. "We wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to make their voice heard. The only way to do this in this situation is to be a registered voter."

71,121 voters in 41 of the 90 precincts in Centre County will have the chance to vote "yes" or "no" on May 20.

The project will affect anyone living in the school district, by increasing residents home taxes by just under 3% to pay for the $85 million in debt the district expects to incur. The project will be financed up to 30 years.

The referendum needs a simple majority vote to pass.

Centre County Commissioners say they're surprised at the lower numbers, too.

"I would have thought we would have seen a little more voter registration," Commissioner Michael Pipe said.

No matter what your opinion of the project is, Miller said your vote matters.

These numbers are still preliminary. County elections officials expect they could increase a little, leading up to the week of the election.

To learn more about the project and to see exactly how much the project could affect you, visit the State High Project website.
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