The primary election is over, and results are not quite known yet as tabulators are working to canvas all the absentee and write-in votes to determine if there are any changes.

With so many write-in votes on the Democratic ballot, the fall election may see some contested races — particularly sheriff and prothonotary.

Both Republican candidates for sheriff, Neil Fratus and Dave Powers, conducted write-in campaigns to be on the Democratic ticket. The theory behind it is should they not get their own party nomination, they could still be on the ballot in the fall — providing they got more write-in votes than the other.

At this point, it looks like Powers won the Republican nomination. There were 1,209 write-ins for Democratic sheriff, but at this point the breakdown is not known.

One worker was predicting Fratus would win the Democratic nomination. The feeling was his campaign was a little more organized for the write-in effort.

That leads to the next possible campaign — for prothonotary.

Incumbent Emmy Arnett was unopposed for the GOP nomination. With about four days to go, a 911 office worker, Karen Haun, announced a write-in campaign for prothonotary. She reportedly is Republican.

It was reported Fratus supporters also were urging people at the polls to write in Haun for prothonotary. Others were urging voters to write in Arnett, but there was no organized effort by Arnett at the last minute.

Arnett had won both the GOP and Democratic nominations the first time she ran for office.

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On another note about Arnett, she was the unofficial high vote getter this year — edging out Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz by only a handful of votes. Schultz had held that record for quite a few years.

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The sheriff's race with the incumbent (Nick Hoke) not supporting his then-chief deputy (Fratus) brought back another memory. When Schultz, who was the first assistant DA, announced his candidacy for DA the first year he ran, the then DA immediately fired Schultz.

The incumbent DA also was a candidate that year. Schultz obviously defeated his boss and has been re-elected many times. The former DA moved to Pittsburgh to continue working in the legal field.

Fratus has since resigned as the county's chief deputy sheriff.

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Now that the primary is over, we are hearing more reports of at least one Democratic attorney who plans to ask to be appointed judge to succeed retiring President Judge Anthony Vardaro.

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The recent commissioner election brought another memory. Commissioners were criticized for raising taxes about 14.5 percent for 2019. Commissioners could have raised taxes a little each year over an eight-year period but chose not to raise taxes for eight years straight.

If memory serves me right, one government group (not sure if it was city or county) years ago put money in reserve each year. When one of the union's contracts came up, no agreement could be reached and it went to mandatory arbitration. The arbiter ruled the municipality could afford to give the union workers raises based on the surplus the municipality had put aside each year.

Sometimes, it doesn't matter how elected officials act, they can't win. I'm not taking sides; just noting what happens.

Had the county raised taxes a little each of the eight years, the taxpayer may have paid more in the long run than the one-time increase because of the compounding factor.

It is interesting for certain.

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It was really nice to see so many campaign signs down already the day after the election. Eric Henry, who had the highest unofficial vote count for the GOP nominees for commissioner, took it upon himself to canvas the county May 22 picking up everybody's signs that were in rights of way. He then took them back to his business, sorted them by candidate and notified the candidates they could come and pick them up!

Nice move for certain. Too often those signs remain up for many weeks after an election.

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As judge of elections, I am often asked about why those not registered Republican or Democrat can't vote during the primary election.

I explain that each team (party) is picking who they want to be on the team. Using the sports analogy, I asked if they were a Steelers player, would they want the Browns choosing who should be on the team they would face? Many understand that explanation — although they may not agree with it.

I am a supporter of closed primaries for that reason. If you want open primary elections, why not just skip the primary and go right to the general election and let everybody vote at once?

Or, perhaps do away with party affiliation altogether and just vote for the person — based on campaign issues — not whether there is a D or R on the ballot.

Just the junkie in me, I guess.

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It appears the major "glitch" in the new machines was the fact they didn't print the totals of the names of the write-in candidates like the old ones did. Although it had been announced the absentee ballots would be scanned and recorded that night, the ballots would not scan.

It is anticipated both of those glitches will be corrected by the fall election.

Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.

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