The race for the historic third judge position on the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas was the only contested race in countywide voting on Tuesday when the General Election was held, but voter turnout was still impressive.
"The turnout was higher than we expected, both absentee and at the polls," said Tim Benyo, supervisor of elections.
One reason was because of a lot of local races; contests in which voters elected school board members, council members, supervisors, tax collectors, and mayor.
Records indicate 13,801 of the eligible 38,014 registered voters, or 36.31 percent, participated in the balloting.
This was a better turnout than the May Primary Election. In May, there were 33,272 registered voters but only 10,259 - or 30.83 percent - went to the polls.
In comparison, last year for the presidential election, 68.32 percent voted in the General Election.
Besides the judgeship, there were three county row office positions up for grabs yesterday, with incumbents in three of the offices running for re-election to the four-year terms being unopposed.
Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court Judy F. Moon of Nesquehoning was the top vote recipient from among the three, collecting 9,269 votes. Treasurer Ronald J. Sheehan of Jim Thorpe followed with 9,123 votes while Clerk of Courts William C. McGinley of Lehighton was third with 9,051.
The tallies include absentee ballots.
Two candidates running for jury commissioner were unopposed since each party elects one person. The Republican candidate was Joe Steber of Nesquehoning, an incumbent who received the most votes in that race, 6,340, while the Democratic candidate was Joanne Poluka-Maurer, who finished with 5,450.
Meanwhile, Magisterial District Judge Joseph D. Homanko Sr. of Beaver Meadows ran for re-election to a six-year term of office and was unopposed. He collected 1,714 token votes from the northern tier municipalities of the county.
County residents also participated in statewide voting for judgeships on the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts. Those results included:
Supreme Court - Jack Panella, Democrat, 6,157; and Joan Orie Melvin, Republican, 5,421.
Superior Court - Democrats Robert J. Colville, 4,293, Kevin Francis McCarthy, 4,973, Anne E. Lazarus, 4,491, and Teresa Sarmina, 4,038; and Republicans, Judy Olson, 5,798, Sallie Mundy, 5,741, Temp Smith, 3,999, and Paula Ott, 4,894; and Libertarian Marakay J. Rogers, 1,161.
Commonwealth Court - Democrats Barbara Behrens Ernst, 4,686, and Linda S. Judson, 4,765; and Republicans Patricia A. McCullough, 5,574, and Kevin Brobson, 4,983.
Also, in voting for judicial retention issues, county residents favored the retention of Judge Kate Ford Elliot on the Superior Court by a margin of 6,855 to 3,558, and Dan Pellegrini on the Commonwealth Court by a margin of 6,608 to 3,793.
Benyo said yesterday's balloting went very well with only a few minor glitches.
At a couple of polling places, "there were issues with the machines reading the access cards," he said. He said the cards were cleaned and then worked fine.
For Joyce Gaumer of Penn Forest Township, yesterday's balloting was a memorable one.
Gaumer has served as Judge of Elections for half a century in Penn Forest.
Yesterday was her last election. She opted to not seek re-election.