The storm that ripped through the region at about 3 p.m. knocked out power at several polling sites, leaving voters in one Northumberland County polling place to vote by flashlight.
While generators were used at several polling sites to keep voting machines running, the voting area in Jordan Township had to employ flashlights and paper ballots, said director of elections Alisha Elliott.
The National Weather Service in State College Tuesday night was considering whether to send a survey team to Danville today to determine if a …
The storm did not deter voters from coming out, though.
Elliott said turnout in primary elections during a non-presidential election is usually between 15 and 17 percent, but Tuesday’s turnout was about 20 percent. Turnout in Union County topped 25 percent, besting the 18 percent prediction director of elections Greg Katherman put forth before any ballots were returned at the county government center.
“I’m surprised,” Katherman said, adding the surprise was a pleasant one. “I didn’t think it’d be that high.”
In Snyder County, turnout was also 25 percent, a little higher than county officials expected, Commissioner Joe Kantz said.
One polling site in Snyder County lost power, but the machines’ batteries kicked in and members of the Hummels Wharf Fire Co. brought in a generator and lights, allowing voters at the Monroe Township office to keep casting ballots during the 45-minute power outage, Elections Director Pat Nace said.
Commissioner Lee Knepp said he doubts the swift-moving afternoon storm had much of an impact on voter turnout.
“That’s usually a lull period. I’m not saying it didn’t deter some, but I don’t think that had a big effect,” he said.
Six voting precincts in Union County saw power knocked out by Tuesday’s storms: East Buffalo 1 and 2, Buffalo 1 and 2, Union/Union Independent and Kelly 1.
Katherman said the lag was short between the outages and power restored to voting machines. There weren’t many people, if any, at the precincts other than poll workers, he said.
“We went to backup batteries,” Katherman said, referring to alternative power sources at the stations.
The Union/Union Independent station was moved from the fire station building to the township building next door, Katherman said.
“It was pretty quiet when it was happening,” he said.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Marcia on Twitter @marciamoore4. Also contributing to this article were staff writers Rick Dandes and Eric Scicchitano.