Redistricting puts new names on some Franklin County ballots

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Pennsylvania’s primary election, in which Republican and Democratic voters will chose their nominees for the fall general election, is Tuesday, May 17.

The deadline to register to vote is Monday, May 2, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot or mail-in ballot is Tuesday, May 10.

This is the timeline for Pennsylvania’s 2022 primary election.

Municipalities changing state House districts

State representatives are up for re-election this year. Only Republicans in the northern part of the county will see ballot choices, but redistricting will put new names on ballots in some municipalities in uncontested races.

The biggest change in the local political landscape involves the 81st District, which will include part of Franklin County beginning in 2023. In the primary, incumbent Rep. Rich Irvin is challenged by fellow Republican Andrea L. Speck, while Ian Kidd is the only name on the Democratic ballot.

More on the candidates:Speck, Irvin to face off for GOP nod in revamped 81st state House district

The 81st District will include Fannett, Metal and St. Thomas townships, currently represented in the 82nd District by John Hershey; Letterkenny Township, currently represented in the 90th District by state Rep. Paul Schemel; and Lurgan Township, the Borough of Orrstown, Southampton Township, Franklin County, and the portion of the Borough of Shippensburg in Franklin County, currently represented in the 89th District by Rep. Rob Kauffman.

What happened last fall:Live updates from Franklin County polls in 2021

Raven Rock Mountain Complex:Doomsday preppers worry about 'Underground Pentagon'

The 89th District is getting Hamilton Township from the 90th, meaning it will include all of the Chambersburg Area School District, except Letterkenny Township.

The 90th District will stretch across the entire southern part of the county after the shift of the Borough of Mercersburg and Montgomery, Peters and Warren townships from the 78th District currently served by Rep. Jesse Topper.

Schemel and Kauffman are the only Republican candidates for their respective seats and there are no Democratic candidates.

More on the candidates:Kauffman, Schemel alone in races for 89th, 90th state House districts

Republican state Sen. Judy Ward of the 30th District is seeking re-election, but her name will not be on any Franklin County ballots as southwestern municipalities including the Boroughs of Greencastle and Mercersburg, and Antrim, Montgomery, Peters and Warren townships are becoming part of the 33rd District represented by Sen. Doug Mastriano, whose seat is not up for election this year.

U.S. Congressman John Joyce, a Republican whose 13th Congressional District includes Franklin County, is unchallenged on the GOP ticket and there are no Democratic candidates.

There are also active statewide contests for governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. senator.

Voting by the numbers

There were 98,433 registered voters in Franklin County as of Tuesday, April 26, and the deadline to register to vote is Monday, May 2, according to Jennie Aines, chief registrar. The list includes 60,391 Republicans and 23,647 Democrats and only members of those two parties can vote in the primary.

Elizabeth Moats submitted her primary 2021 election ballot shortly after 8 a.m. at Grace United Church of Christ in Greencastle. This year's primary election is on May 17.

In 2020, the year of the presidential election, Franklin County saw a 36% turnout in the primary. In 2021, when many local municipal and school board seats were on the ballot, turnout was 28%, according to county records.

Also by April 26, 5,837 absentee and mail-in ballots had been requested. Absentee ballots, accounting for about 10% of the total, started going out Friday, April 22, and mail-in ballots started going out Monday, April 25.

To register to vote, request a mail-in or absentee ballot or for more information, visit franklincountypa.gov or vote.pa.gov or call the Franklin County voter registration office at 717-261-3886.

Sample ballots can be found on the county website by going to General Government then Voter and Election Information.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at shardy@gannett.com