In-Person Turnout On Primary Day Low In Centre County As Voters Opt To Vote By Mail

Jun 3, 2020

In-person turnout for the primary election Tuesday was low in Centre County. Many voters opted to vote by mail, an option significantly expanded last year and especially encouraged because of COVID-19.

Jordan Emely is a judge of elections in State College. About ten percent of the voters registered in his precinct had sent in their mail-in ballots before the primary. 

By late morning Tuesday, only six people had voted at the borough municipal building where he was working, which Emely said made social distancing a lot easier.

“Taking part in your civic duty doesn’t mean you have to go to vote right now in the primary, which is pretty cool. So I’m glad that people did take advantage of the mail-in,” he said.

Centre County Director of Elections Joyce McKinley said more than 19,000 voters sent in their mail-in ballots for this primary. That’s more than half of all ballots cast in the last presidential primary election in 2016. 

The County Board of Elections started counting mail-in ballots on Tuesday, and McKinley said it will take a couple of days before all the results are in. State law requires all votes to be counted within a week of the election.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated more than 22,000 voters in Centre County have voted by mail. That number actually described how many mail-in ballots had been sent to voters, not received back. We regret this error.