voting

Candidates for elected positions that decide the fate of countless local issues — from school property taxes to the latest development projects — will be on the ballot this year in Lancaster County.

The winners in November will become township supervisors and school board directors, council members, treasurers and judges of elections.

And there’s help for would-be candidates who aren’t sure how to get started.

With deadlines for circulating petitions and filing as a candidate coming up in the next several weeks, Penn State Extension is partnering with the Lancaster County elections office for a workshop on how to run for local office.

The local Republican and Democratic committees have been busy with their own training programs in recent months as they work to recruit and prepare candidates for the May 21 primary, which will also result in nominations for countywide offices such as commissioner and judge.

The “Toss Your Hat in the Ring” training from PSU and the county government is intended to be a more nonpartisan approach.

It won’t offer fundraising tips or campaign advice but rather the essentials — starting with an overview of the local government system and responsibilities of those in positions such as township supervisor or council member, according to a press release.

It will include instructions on steps in the process — like how to file petitions that secure a spot on the ballot and how to report campaign expenses — presented by chief clerk of the county’s Board of Elections, Randall Wenger.

“The people who run our local governments are our friends and neighbors — people just like us,” Peter Wulfhorst, Penn State Extension educator, said in statement. “You don’t need special training or experience to serve your township, borough or school district. If you’re interested in serving, care about your community and are willing to learn on the job, we’d like to encourage you to toss your hat in the ring.”

The training is 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Penn State Extension office, 1383 Arcadia Road, Room 140, Lancaster.

Registration costs $25 and can be made online at www.extension.psu.edu/toss-your-hat.