Michael L. Anderson doesn’t expect a lot of people to come to the polls on Tuesday.
“We don’t expect the turnout to be very high, unfortunately,” Anderson, chief clerk and director of the Lebanon County Bureau of Elections and Voter Registration, said Jan. 9. “Until the last week, it seems a lot of people didn’t realize this special election was even coming.”
The good news, he said with a laugh, is “we don’t expect any waiting in line.”
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday for a special election to fill the District 48 seat in the state Senate. The seat was vacated in September when former Sen. Mike Folmer resigned after being charged with possessing child pornography
Two men are vying for his seat: Democrat Michael Schroeder, a Lebanon Valley College history professor, and Republican David Arnold, Lebanon County’s district attorney. The winner of the special election will serve the balance of Folmer’s term, which runs through November 2022.
District 48 covers all of Lebanon County as well as a portion of York and Dauphin counties.
Voters who go to the polls on Tuesday shouldn’t expect anything unusual, Anderson said. It’s voting as usual, he said.
“It’s the same voting system that we used in November,” he said. “All 60 precincts here in Lebanon County will be open and operating. Same ballot for every election precinct. It’s one contest, so just a one-page paper ballot. It’s pretty simple.”
Results from Lebanon County polls will be posted on the county website as they become available, Anderson said. The speed with which they are tabulated depends partly on the weather, he said.
“It all depends on the weather, honestly,” Anderson said. “It’s the middle of January. We don’t have elections in January for a reason. … But it looks like the weather is going to be OK. It might rain, which is way better than snow.
“I don’t anticipate it being late.”
All three counties are responsible for certifying their results, he noted. Results posted Tuesday night are unofficial, he stressed; the official tally won’t be certified by the state until Jan. 27 or 28 – assuming there’s no appeal or a recount request.
There were relatively few requests for absentee ballots, Anderson noted. However, he said, military personnel have until Jan. 21 to submit their votes.
“I’m not a big fan of special elections, honestly,” Anderson said. “It’s a lot of money for one office, but that’s where we are.”
Gerald D. Feaser Jr., director of the Dauphin County Bureau of Elections and Voter Registration, declined to guess what kind of turnout will hit the polls on Tuesday.
“I don’t get into the political prognostication business,” he said. “We prepare for 100 percent turnout no matter what election it is.”
In Dauphin County, that means staffing 33 election districts in nine municipalities, he said – “at great expense to the taxpayers, of course.”
Steve Ulrich, Anderson’s and Feaser’s counterpart in York County, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. According to a member of his staff, Friday was Ulrich’s first day on the job, replacing Nikki Suchanic, who announced her resignation three days after an election in November that was plagued with problems.
Results from the Dauphin and York precincts will also be posted as they become available on their respective county websites (dauphincounty.org and yorkcountypa.gov).
Besides the 60 precincts comprising Lebanon County, polls will be open Tuesday in Conewago, Londonderry, Swatara and Lower Swatara townships and Highspire, Middletown, Paxtang, Royalton and Steelton boroughs in Dauphin County, and Conewago, East Manchester, Newberry and Springettsbury townships and Goldsboro, Lewisberry, Manchester, Mount Wolf and York Haven boroughs in York County.
Read More About the Special Election
An informed democracy is a healthy democracy.
An independent press makes democracy work better. Join LebTown as a member to help us make a difference. Benefits include member happy hours, an email preview of what we plan to publish each week, and access to our Friends of the Newsroom group on Facebook.
Learn more and join now here.
Full Disclosure: The campaigns of Dave Arnold and Michael Schroeder are advertisers on LebTown at present. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.