Election features contested races

New voters must have voter identification card or photo ID

The clock is ticking as the days until Tuesday’s general election dwindle to single digits.

This year, there are a number of contested races at both local and state levels.

“It’s healthy to have competition. It’s healthy to have choices, whether it’s in free enterprise or in government,” Jim Foreman, Blair County Republican Committee chairman, said.

“One of the privileges we all have as Americans is this process where we have the opportunity to vote, listen to candidates present on issues and identify with ourselves and with those candidates who represent the positions that anyone aligns with,” he added.

At the state level, Republican candidate Scott Wagner is challenging incumbent Tom Wolf for his seat as governor. Candidates Jeffrey Bartos and John Fetterman both have their eyes set on lieutenant governor.

Locally, Democratic candidate Brent Ottaway and Republican candidate John Joyce are competing for Congressman Bill Shuster’s seat.

Meanwhile, State Rep. Judy Ward, R-Blair, faces off with Democratic candidate Emily Best for the 30th Senate seat as Repub­lican candidate Jim Gregory and Democratic candidate Laura Burke contend for Ward’s seat.

Gillian Kratzer, Blair County Democratic Committee chairwoman, noted the number of contested races this year and stressed the importance of voting, commenting on how a small number of votes can be the difference between winning and losing.

“Your vote absolutely counts. And I think what is unfortunate is when people feel like their vote doesn’t count because their candidate didn’t win,” Kratzer said.

“You have to have your voice heard and this is absolutely the way to do it. We’re not always going to win, but you have to show up,” she said. “It’s the only way a democracy works. And when we’re not voting, we’re abdicating that responsibility as citizens.”

She added that having more Democratic candidates running this year has created a lot of energy for the committee, describing the candidates who talk about the “bread-and-butter” issues such as infrastructure and school funding as “hardworking” and “amazingly qualified.”

“What I always want to see a candidate doing is talking about what are the issues that are important to people in their everyday lives,” Kratzer said of the Demo­cratic candidates. “And they are really turning heads, I think, even among Repub­licans.”

On the Republican side, Foreman pointed out there were multiple Republican candidates in the May primary and choices for voters in the fall, which he described as healthy for the country.

“From the Republican perspective, it’s a whole new slate of candidates filling positions,” he said.

He pointed out how Joyce is attempting to fill Shuster’s position, Gregory is trying to replace Ward, Ward is vying for Sen. John H. Eichel­berger Jr.’s seat and Lou Schmitt is taking over for retiring State Rep. John McGinnis.

“I think they all are wholesome people who identify and relate to the traditional values of central Pennsyl­vania,” Foreman added. “I think all of them individually and collectively will work to serve the people of Blair County. And I do believe that they’ll listen to all points of view and not just polarized, or myopic, concentrated points of view.”

“Midterms do count. All elections matter,” he said.

Due to more contested races this year, Kratzer said she expects more people visiting the polls.

Blair County Director of Elections Sarah Seymour said she expects a higher voter turnout this year, commenting on the increased number of absentee ballots. She anticipates the polling stations will be busy and asked voters to be patient with poll workers.

Voters can submit votes for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, state senators for even-numbered districts and state representatives for all districts.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Voters in line when polls close are entitled to vote.

Polling place assignments can be found online by visiting www.blairco.org and clicking on the elections/ voter registration tab.

Voters also can confirm polling assignments by calling 814-693-3150 between

8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday.

New voters must bring a voter identification card or a photo ID such as a driver’s license, student ID or another federal or state government issued ID.

Some non-photo IDs also are acceptable such as a firearm permit, current utility bill, bank statement, pay­check or government check.

Those not new to voting are not required to bring or provide identification.

An online voters guide is available at www.vote411.org.

Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.

AREA RACES:

Governor

Paul Glover (G)

Kenneth V. Krawchuk (L)

Scott R. Wagner (R)

Thomas W. Wolf (D)

U.S. Senate

Neal Taylor Gale (G)

Dale R. Kerns Jr. (L)

Louis J. Barletta (R)

Robert P. Casey Jr. (D)

13th Congressional District

John Joyce (R)

Brent M. Ottaway (D)

30th State Senate

Emily Garbuny Best (D)

Judith F. Ward (R)

72nd House

Frank Burns (D)

Gerald S. Carnicella (R)

78th State House

Deborah Turner Baughman (D)

Jesse Wills Topper (R)

79th State House

Louis C. Schmitt Jr. (R)

80th State House

Laura Burke (D)

James V. Gregory (R)

81st State House

Richard S. Irvin (R)

Richard James Rogers Sr. (D)

Joseph P. Soloski (L)

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