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Results and voter voices on school board, judge races in the State College area

Reece Coren
Voters from Centre County Precinct 66 talked about the importance of voting outside the Park Forest Village United Methodist Church.

Voters from Centre County Precinct 66 talked about the importance of voting outside the Park Forest Village United Methodist Church.

In a municipal election that included sheriff, coroner, and recorder of deeds, school board members and the judge of the court of common pleas were the two hottest issues on voters’ minds Tuesday in Centre County.

Sam Sholtis has a 17-year-old at State High. He said he voted for the five members of the Democratic Slate for State group in the State College Area School District race.

“It’s important to make sure that our voice is heard about the school board," Sholtis said. There’s a lot going on nationally — especially with school boards — with things like book banning and policies around LGBTQ issues that are really important and get to basic human rights, as well as our basic freedoms.”

In unofficial results, the Slate for State candidates took the top five Democratic slots and the United for State candidates took the top five Republican spots. It appears that incumbent candidate Laurel Zydney, who was not with either group, will be eliminated.

The remaining 10 candidates will compete in the fall for the five open spots on the school board. School board races are also competitive in Bellefonte, Altoona, Hollidaysburg and Penns Valley.

Mo Hasan, also of State College, said it’s important to vote.

"Not everybody knows everything, but if you find a candidate that relates to your beliefs, you should definitely vote as a citizen. If you don’t vote, you don’t get a voice,” Hasan said.

He said he voted Gopal Balachandran for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

“I actually met him once and I just liked him. I like what he’s running on. He has good democratic values that I believe in,” Hasan said.

Balachandran and Julia Rater were both cross-filed in that judge race. Looking at unofficial results, Rater appears to have handily won on the Republican ticket and by a slim margin on the Democratic side as well. She will likely fill the open Judge of the Court of Common Pleas position.

In statewide judge races, Democrat Dan McCaffery and Republican Carolyn Carluccio won their parties’ primaries for a vacant seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. That sets up a fall contest to join a high court that is at the center of cases on guns, abortion and elections in a presidential battleground state.

In lower court races, Republican Megan Martin and Democrat Matt Wolf each won a two-way primary for an open seat on the Commonwealth Court. Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane captured the nomination in a three-way race for two open seats on the Superior Court, which hears appeals of civil and criminal cases from county courts.

Reece Coren is a WPSU news intern and a rising senior at Penn State.
Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.