Tuesday is municipal election day: What you need to know to vote in Franklin County
Franklin County voters will hit the polls Tuesday to elect borough council members, mayors, school board directors and other local officials. State judges will also be on the ballot.
The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; as long as you are in line by 8, you can vote.
If you are voting by mail-in or absentee ballot, you must deliver it to the Franklin County Voter Registration Office (at the Franklin County Administration Building, 272 N. Second St., Chambersburg) by 8 p.m. on election day. It is too late to send it by mail; postmarks do not count.
The last time many of the same seats were up for election, in 2017, just over 20% of the county's registered voters cast ballots. About 28% of registered voters turned out in 2019.
That turnout is low compared to presidential and even statewide election years, but keep in mind that local officials make the decisions that directly affect your town and family.
PA Voters Guide 2021:Get to know the candidates on your ballot in Franklin County
Big election for Borough of Chambersburg
In the Borough of Chambersburg, half of the 10 seats on borough council are up for election and a new mayor will be chosen. All of the races are contested.
Borough voters have three mayoral candidates to choose from: Republican Kenneth "Hockey" Hock, owner of Factory Direct Carpets in Chambersburg; Democrat Marvin Worthy, owner of a consulting business and local racial equality activist; and James Kinton, a Libertarian who works as a physical therapist.
The winner will take the seat of outgoing mayor Walter Bietsch, who lost the Republican primary. The mayor's primary responsibility is to supervise the police department; he can also break tie votes by borough council and veto decisions.
In the First Ward, longtime councilperson Allen Coffman, a Republican, is being challenged by Heidi Frye, associte director of development at St. James School, Hagerstown, Md.
Republican Tom Newcomer is looking to reclaim a Second Ward seat, to which he did not seek re-election in 2015 after several terms. His Democratic opponent, Amer Chaudhry, owner of the Falafel Shack on Memorial Square, hopes to get back on borough council after leaving his Fourth Ward seat a number of months because his family moved. Borough council members must live in the ward they represent.
In the Third Ward, Democrat Barbara Beattie is seeking a second term. Her Republican opponent, Dom Brown is making his second attempt at a Third Ward seat. Brown is also the lone candidate for constable in the ward.
Dennis Schmaltz, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Larry B. Hensley as he seeks election to his first full term in the Fourth Ward. Council appointed him to the seat vacated by Chaudhry.
In the Fifth Ward, either Democrat Brendan Bittle and Republican Weston Waytow will join borough council.
Meanwhile, there is no competition on the ballot for seats on Chambersburg Area school board.
Faye Gaugler is running unchallenged for the Region 1 seat, having beaten multiple candidates for both the Republican and Democratic nominations (school board candidates may cross-file). A nurse who worked at Chambersburg Hospital and as an instructor in Franklin County Career and Technology Center's Practical Nursing Program, she is set to replace Dana Baker, who opted not to seek re-election. The region includes Letterkenny and Lurgan townships and Greene Township precincts 3 and 6.
Sherian Diller, former superintendent of Waynesboro Area School District, effectively secured the Region 3 seat by winning both primaries. The region, currently represented by one-term director Kris Scritchfield, includes Guilford Township precincts 2, 4 and 6.
Edward Norcross is running unopposed for a third term in Region 6 (Hamilton Township). Lance Walker, who was appointed to the seat last year following the resignation of longtime director Carl Barton, is unchallenged in Region 4 (Chambersburg 5-1, Guilford Township 1)
There are no candidates on the ballot for Region 7 or Region 8. The seats are currently held by appointed directors Michael Finucane (replaced Joan Smith) and Sally Brooks (replaced Alex Sharpe), respectively.
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Contested races in Greencastle area
There are contested races for Greencastle Borough Council and Greencastle-Antrim school board. Both are at-large contests.
Eight candidates are going out for four, four-year seats on the school board: Cameron Schroy, a teacher and 2014 G-A graduate; incumbent Charles C. Ford, a school bus driver; Franklin County Career and Technology Center instructor Pat Parson; incumbent Lindsey Mowen, a managed care analyst; Hal Myers, who previously served on the board through the 1990s and early 2000s; Eileen Dickinson, a registered nurse; Rich Davis, who works in aviation electronics; and Janon Gray, a consultant.
Schroy, Ford, Parson and Mowen will appear on the ballot as Democrats and the latter four as Republicans, although Ford and Mowen are registered with the GOP.
Parson is also running for the one two-year seat that is up for election, versus Republican Christopher Tyler Bonillas, a contractor.
In the borough council race, five candidates are vying for four seats: Democrat Wade Burkholder, an incumbent, and Republicans Andrea Rose, Albert Miller, Jan Shafer and Allen Mairose. Rose, Miller and Shafer are on the ballot twice, having secured enough write-in votes in the Democratic primary.
Race for mayor, boro council in Mercersburg
Voters in the Borough of Mercersburg will elect a mayor and members to borough council.
Incumbent Mayor Roger Defibaugh, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Michael Pedersen. Pedersen is currently a member of borough council.
In the borough council race, Raymond Minton, Paul Sipes and Donald Stoner Jr. are running to keep their seats. Tim Stanton and Joseph Michael Burkot round out the group of five running for four, four-year seats. All candidates are Republicans; Burkot was the only candidate to appear on the Democratic ticket in the primary, but he was placed on the wrong ballot due to a clerical error.
Stanton is also the only candidate for a two-year seat.
There's been quite a bit of turnover on Mercersburg Borough Council in recent years. Only three of the six people elected in the past two municipal election cycles remain on the board, including Stoner and two members elected in 2019. The council consists of seven seats.
Voters in Tuscarora School District will fill four school board seats. With four candidates, there is no contest.
Two races in Waynesboro area
There are a few seats up for election this cycle in the Waynesboro area, but only two are contested.
Waynesboro Borough Council consists of two seats for each of the borough's three wards, and each ward has one seat up for election.
Only the First Ward seat is contested. Incumbent Dade Royer, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat John Poniske.
Incumbents C. Harold Mumma and Jared Knott are running unopposed in the Second Ward and Third Ward, respectively.
There is also one contested race for Waynesboro Area school board.
Kim Miles faces a challenge from Democrat Rachel Fortney for a two-year term representing the North End district. Miles is also the only candidate for the four-year seat she was appointed to last year following the resignation of Beth Reecher. The North End covers Quincy Township, the fifth precinct in Guilford Township and Mont Alto.
James Marvin and Wendy Royer, an incumbent, are running for two seats that represent the borough. Bonnie Bachtell is not seeking re-election for one of those spots.
Mark Smith is running unchallenged for the Washington Township seat currently held by Patrick McDonald, who is not seeking re-election.
Other offices up for election
School board races in Fannett-Metal and Shippensburg Area school districts (at least the seats that represent people in Franklin County) are not contested this election. Voters in Cumberland County will vote in one contested Shippensburg school board race.
None of the township supervisor seats up for election across the county are contested this time.
There are a few contested races for tax collectors and auditors around the county, as well as judges of election and inspectors of election.
The only county-wide office to appear on the ballot this cycle is for county treasurer. Melody Shuman is running unopposed in that race.
Write-in candidates could make an impact on some races. Several write-in candidates have been promoting themselves via social media and campaign signage. In Waynesboro, for example, Douglas Carranza has been campaigning as a write-in candidate challenging the incumbent mayor, Richard Starliper. Carranza was one of two Republican candidates who lost to Starliper in that party's primary.
More information about the election and voting can be found under the "Voter and Elections" section at franklincountypa.gov.
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