Poor voter turnout expected for election
By Chris Buckley
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
Without much to decide in the general election, four in five voters are expected to stay away from the polls Tuesday.
In a ballot with few contested races, battles for mayor in Monessen and Elizabeth as well as an election for Rostraver Township commissioner dot the ballot.
There are a series of mostly marginal school board races – the result of a system that allows candidates to cross-file in both Democratic and Republican primary elections.
In cases in which candidates did not win both party nominations, some hopefuls still are campaigning for election.
Still, most voters will find few or no contested races on ballots at their polls. That, along with growing voter apathy, will combine for low turnout.
Washington County Elections Bureau Director Larry Spahr predicted turnout to be around 22 percent, matching the feeble turnout from the primary election.
He based the projection on absentee ballots, which matched spring levels.
“There's hardly any deviation at all from the May primary,” Spahr said.
James Montini, director of elections for Westmoreland County, said he expects turnout to be “20 to 25 percent.”
“There doesn't seem to be much interest in the election,” Montini said. “A lack of contested races could keep it down.”
Mark Wolosik, division manager for the Allegheny County Elections division, predicted turnout will be 25 percent, in line with the 2009 general election, when turnout countywide was 24.01 percent.
“I think, generally, municipal election years are off years,” Wolosik said. “You see low turnout in municipal elections. In national elections, there is so much coverage of them.”
Larry Blosser, Fayette County Election Bureau director, said turnout could be less than 20 percent.
“There's nothing there,” Blosser said. “There's no opposition in the county races, and there's no competition for the municipal races.”
Newcomers Lou Mavrakis, the Democratic nominee, and GOP nominee Robert Zynosky Jr. are trying to become Monessen mayor.
Mavrakis defeated Mayor Mary Jo Smith in the primary.
In Elizabeth, incumbent Mayor David Householder, a Republican, is facing Democrat V. Ann Malady.
In Donora, the race for mayor is not limited to the ballot.
Mayor John Lignelli is unopposed – officially. But newcomer John Lunt is attempting a write-in campaign.
Rostraver Commissioner Patrick Egros is the lone incumbent on the ballot, joined by fellow Democrat Ray Iacoboni and Republican nominees Jared Naylor and Devin De Rienzo.
There are council races in New Eagle, Perryopolis, North Belle Vernon and Smithton as well as supervisor races in Nottingham, Union and West Pike Run townships.
Poor voter turnout is a trend, Wolosik said.
“Turnout just continues to drop,” Wolosik said. “I think they're just not as interested in the process.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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