Election prep

Jody Leech (left), chairman of the Crawford County Republican Committee, and Valerie Kean Staab, chairman of the Crawford County Democratic Committee, pose in front the courthouse recently.

With major contested countywide races for both sheriff and commissioner, the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties hope for good voter turnout in today's election.

Valerie Kean Staab, chair of the Crawford County Democratic Committee, is predicting 35 percent voter turnout while Jody Leech, chair of the Crawford County Republican Party, is forecasting an even higher turnout at 50 percent.

"There's a lot of energy this year," Staab said of people getting involved in various campaigns. "But, it's a question whether that energy went past into the newer political people or did it energize just 100 or 200."

Staab said she's surprised with the interest in the sheriff's race.

"I don't have an answer as to why," Staab said. "The commissioners race I thought would be the bigger one with the tax increase this year. The sheriff has no policy or law making ability."

Leech said she's hopeful more people are paying attention to the races in this year's election as much of the ballot in today's election is choosing local leadership.

"It's really everything to people," Leech said. "The offices (up for election) are everything that runs local government. National and state elections affect you, but these affect you more."

In addition to choosing a new board of commissioners and a new sheriff, voters also will elect the countywide offices of auditor, coroner, district attorney, prothonotary and register and recorder. Plus, there's a question whether to retain one of the judges on the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas for another 10-year term.

Depending on where they live, voters will choose members of city or borough councils or township supervisor as well as other local government posts plus area school boards have seats on the ballot.

At the state level, voters must select two new judges on the Pennsylvania Superior Court plus decide whether to retain judges — two each on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court — for additional 10-year terms.

There's also a ballot question on a proposed amendment to Pennsylvania's constitution on crime victim rights.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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