Politics and Government
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Still no mayor named in Centre Co. town
Updated: Wednesday, December 4 2013, 01:19 PM EST
Stickers on ballots being called into question
Reported By: Gary Sinderson
Written By: Marc Stempka
BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- It’s been nearly one month since the 2013 general election and in a small Centre County town with only a few hundred registered voters, residents are still waiting to find out who will be their next mayor.
The latest twist in the Port Matilda mayoral race involves under-votes, or ballots that may have been cast, but without a vote for mayor electronically selected on the ballots.
Earlier this year incumbent Port Matilda Mayor Robert Wiser decided he didn’t want to be the mayor after winning the primary election, and encouraged voters to write in other candidates.
Three residents, Ida Lively, Bobbi Jo Hamer and Lynn Snyder, staged write-in campaigns, and on Election Day the three stood outside of the borough’s only polling place giving voters their names.
One thing that Centre County elections officials are now trying to determine is if stickers with Hamer’s name were given out to voters.
Before electronic ballots in the county, voters were permitted to place the sticker of the candidate on their ballot and their vote would be counted.
With the electronic ballots, voters who may have used the stickers on their ballot may not have had their mayoral vote counted, officials said. There were 20 under-vote ballots cast with the stickers.
An initial ballot count showed Hamer and Lively with the most votes, with 34 and 35 respectively, out of the 81 cast.
It will now be up to a judge to determine whether or not the under-votes will be permitted to be counted.
In late November, Hamer filed a request for a court hearing to argue for a recount and that is expected to take place in the coming weeks. It’s likely a judge will rule on the under-votes at that time, but not on whether or not a recount will take place.