Blair County beginning vote review on Friday

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County’s review of Tuesday’s write-in votes, plus the counting of absentee ballots, begins Friday.

Blair County received 370 absentee ballots with votes that will be added to Tuesday night’s unofficial primary results, Elections Director Sarah Seymour said Wednesday.

Also, the county’s election returns board, made up of commissioners Terry Tomassetti, Diane Meling and Ted Beam Jr., will examine the write-in votes and determine if any candidate is eligible for the fall ballot.

“Quite a few candidates were calling in and asking how to do a write-in on the Democratic ballot where there weren’t any candidates,” Seymour said.

To win a write-in nomination, a candidate must receive the highest number of votes, plus the total must be at least equal to or greater than the number of signatures needed on a petition to seek office.

The number of signatures needed varies, depending on the office.

Seymour said that if the returns board does not finish Friday, it will meet again Wednesday to finish. But Seymour said she plans to update the county’s website on Friday afternoon with available numbers from the absentee ballots and validated write-in votes.

In past years, a few races have been affected by the counting of absentee ballots and write-in votes.

In the May 2012 primary, for instance, Logan Township resident Richard Flarend picked up enough write-in and absentee ballot votes to win the Democratic nomination for the 79th District state representative seat. Flarend lost his quest in November to John McGinnis, who won the Republican primary.

Unofficial results in Tuesday’s primary showed the closest race subject to influence by additional votes occurred in Greenfield Township. There, Glenn Wenzel received 102 votes for the Republican nomination for township supervisor, one more than Leeann Lightner.

Election officials in neighboring counties are following similar procedures to review and compile their votes that will be certified to state election officials.

Bedford County officials have finished counting absentee ballots, Elections Director Kelly Detwiler said Wednesday. The vote will be finalized and certified Friday, she said.

Seymour said Blair County cannot certify its results before May 28 because it issued a military absentee ballot. The state’s timetable for the election process designates May 28 as the last day for accepting military absentee ballots.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456. Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown contributed to this story. He can be reached at 946-7457.