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Your Guide To 2021’s General Election In Centre County

Happy Election Day, folks!

At long last, Pennsylvania’s general election is finally here, and it’s time to fulfill your civic duty. Like most odd-numbered years, 2021’s election focuses more on county and municipal positions that should impact communities directly, including right here in State College.

Without further ado, here’s what you should know before hitting the polls.

How To Vote

On Election Day, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You must be in line by 8 p.m. to vote.

You can use this tool to find your polling location if you’re registered to vote in Centre County. Remember, though: Every Penn State student living on campus will vote at the HUB.

Voters casting mail-in ballots can deliver them to the main entrance of the county’s Willowbank Building, 420 Holmes Street in Bellefonte, or to one of eight secure drop-box locations around the county until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

If you’re not sure where you’re registered to vote, you can check your registration status in Pennsylvania or any other state.

Voters who received a mail-in ballot but want to vote in person instead can bring their mail ballot and outer envelope to their polling place, where they will be voided. You’ll get a regular ballot once you sign some forms.

Those who applied for a mail ballot, wish to vote in person instead, and don’t have a mail ballot to surrender can cast a provisional vote. The county election board will need to verify the voter did not cast a mail-in ballot before their in-person ballot is counted.

What’s On The Ballot?

Although everyone’s ballot will differ across Centre County, most folks in the borough will wind up State College’s next mayor, councilmembers, school board officials, and more.

Here’s a brief look at each race, featuring insight from StateCollege.com’s Geoff Rushton.

State College Borough Council

Voters will elect three new members to State College’s Borough Council.

Four candidates are vying for seats:

  • Gopal Balachandran (D)
    • Balachandran is an assistant professor of clinical law at Penn State and former public defender.
  • B. Divine Lipscomb (D)
    • Lipscomb is a Penn State adult student, restorative justice advocate, and founder of Correctivie Gentleman, an alternatives to incarceration and reentry program.
  • Richard Biever (D)
    • Biever is the owner and director of FUSE Productions and Singing Onstage and an assistant professor of theater at Penn State.
  • Jacob R. Werner (R)
    • Werner is an assistant professor of veterinary medicine and dairy and animal science and attending veterinarian for agricultural animals and wildlife at Penn State.

Check out this post to watch interviews with each candidate.

State College Mayor

Ezra Nanes is running unopposed after defeating fellow Democratic candidate Jim Leous in May’s primary.

  • Ezra Nanes (D)
    • Nanes is director of business development at AccuWeather.

State College Area School Board

Six candidates are vying for seats on the State College Area Board of School Directors. Four positions, each with a four-year term, are up for election this year.

This election’s school board candidates are:

  • Peter Buck (D/R)
    • Buck is an academic programs manager in Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and former Ferguson Township supervisor.
  • Carline Crevecoeur (D)
    • Crevecoeur is a community volunteer, educator and retired OB-GYN.
  • Deborah Anderson (D/R)
    • Anderson is an economist, former college professor, and a parent volunteer in the district.
  • Jackie Huff (D)
    • Huff is an assistant teaching professor in Penn State’s College of Engineering and former high school math teacher.
  • Michelle Glenn Young (R)
    • Young is a retired U.S. Navy commander and a parent volunteer in the district.
  • David Hutchinson (R)
    • Hutchinson has been a State College Area School Board member since 2003 and is a past president of the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

Check out this post to watch interviews with each candidate. Hutchinson did not conduct an interview with Rushton.

Centre Region Townships

If you’re living outside the scope of downtown State College or Penn State’s campus, you might find yourself casting votes for officials in nearby townships. Check out this StateCollege.com guide for a closer look at those races.

What About The Rest Of My Ballot?

Sample ballots with races for each municipality and precinct are available on the county elections website. There, you’ll find information on a few uncontested races, plus a breakdown of state-wide elections to determine some new judges in Pennsylvania.

When Will Results Be In?

Although elections officials will begin canvassing absentee and mail-in ballots early Tuesday morning, results will take a bit to come in. Absentee, mail-in, and in-person voting results will be posted as they become available Tuesday night on the elections office website.

General Tips & Tricks

  • If it’s your first time voting, be sure to bring proof of identification, like a driver’s license or Penn State ID. Check with Centre County’s list of approved forms of identification before you leave home.
  • Follow any instructions poll workers give you. They know best!
  • Don’t talk about political subjects while you’re at the polls.
  • After the elections desk determines you’re eligible to vote, you sign your name in the poll book. If your address is incorrect here, you’ll need to fill out a form to change it (Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to vote!).
  • When you’re finished voting, tear off the stub on your ballot and place the rest of the ballot in the ballot box.
  • If you’re turned away from the polls for any reason, hit ’em with the ol’, “Give me a provisional ballot with a receipt as required by law.” By law, you have a right to vote.
  • Centry County’s Board of Elections encourages voters to wear masks if they’re voting in person. All poll workers are required to wear masks while working.

Although the ballot itself can look a little intimidating at first, it’s actually rather easy:

  • Use a black pen.
  • To vote you must blacken the oval to the left of your choice completely. An oval blackened to the left of the name of any candidate indicates a vote for that candidate.
  • If you wish to vote straight party, blacken the oval to the left of your party choice.
  • To cast a write-in vote for a person whose name is not on the ballot, blacken the oval to the left of the line provided and print the name in the blank space provided for that purpose.
  • If you make a mistake, do not erase it. Ask for a new ballot.
  • Remove the stub before casting your ballot.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to send ’em Centre County’s way by email at any time Tuesday.

Above all else, make sure you vote if you’re able to. We have a great privilege of choosing our representatives, and your voice matters a lot! Use it.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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