If history is a guide, only 38,000 Lancaster County voters will take part in the municipal primary today.
And that’s being optimistic.
With few high-profile races on the ballot, turnout is not likely to exceed 12% to 14% — roughly the portion of Republican and Democratic voters who took part in the 2015 and 2017 off-year primaries here.
(Only the 270,000 voters here who are affiliated with the two major parties can nominate candidates in the state’s closed-primary system.)
The weather won’t be an excuse to stay home; the forecast is for a mostly sunny day with high temperatures in the 70s. For many voters, the lack of competition on the ballot is enough of a reason.
There are, however, several races to keep an eye on amid the many contests for school board, township supervisor, borough and City Council seats, magisterial district judgeships and countywide offices such as register of wills and commissioner.
In this race, the primary serves as the election.
Here’s why: The two Republicans who emerge victorious today will join the lone, uncontested Democrat as the only candidates for the three-member board of commissioners, a position that pays $99,410.
The question Republican voters face is whether to take their party’s advice and nominate the endorsed ticket, incumbent Commissioner Josh Parsons and newcomer Ray D’Agostino, or give East Hempfield Township Supervisor Doug Brubaker a shot.
The race has gotten somewhat nasty in recent weeks. Brubaker has criticized D’Agostino for being a registered Democrat in the 1980s. The county GOP hit Brubaker’s support for Ted Cruz at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The lone Democratic candidate is incumbent Commissioner Craig Lehman.
Commissioners serve as managers and administrators of county government; name citizens to boards, commissions and authorities; and award contracts.
Elanco school board
Does allowing a high school student who was born female but identifies as male to use the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms violate the eastern Lancaster County community’s conservative ideals?
For most of the Republican candidates running for Elanco school board, the answer is yes. Those issues — student privacy and whether students should be separated by biological sex or gender identity inside restrooms and locker rooms — have driven the school board race in this district.
Vying today for five spots on the general election ballot for Elanco school board are incumbents Dina Maio, 36, and Thomas Wentzel, 60, as well as Jacqueline Geyer, 36, Kevin McCarroll, 45, Brian Conroy, 46, and Bryan Hower, 52.
Hower, a public school teacher who is not endorsed by the local GOP, is the only candidate who is adamantly against separation solely by biological sex. He has cross-filed and is also appearing on the Democratic ballot.
The remaining candidates — except Geyer, also a public school teacher, who admitted to LNP she’s on the fence — are staunch advocates for separation by biological sex.
In Lancaster city, five City Council candidates are running for three spots on the Democratic ticket in November’s general election.
The party has endorsed two: Jaime Arroyo, 30, and Amanda Bakay, 36. They are running as a team with Xavier Garcia-Molina, 24.
The other two candidates are Willie E. Shell Sr., 67, and Al Williams, 45.
All five say they believe Lancaster must do more to bring economic opportunity to its underserved communities and marginalized residents.
Arroyo, Bakay, and Garcia-Molina work at nonprofits: Assets, Lancaster Science Factory and Advoz, respectively.
Shell owns Shell’s Disposal & Recycling, while Williams is a self-employed plumber and a minister at Open Door Mission.
Shell ran for City Council in 2005, 2007 and 2017. The others have not previously sought elective office.
No Republicans are running.