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Carbon voter turnout for primary is 31 percent

Published May 19. 2010 05:00PM

Of Carbon County's 33,459 registered voters, 10,544 - or 31.51 percent - voted in yesterday's primary election.

The election went rather smooth in the county with no major problems reported, said Kenneth Leffler, acting director of the Election Bureau.

Leffler returned to duty after retiring on April 3, 2009. He was asked to handle yesterday's election when his successor, Timothy Benyo, resigned from the post.

Leffler had been election director for 30 years.

He said regarding yesterday's balloting, "Things went well."

He said there were a few minor problems in which the electronic machines either weren't plugged into outlets or the outlets were dead, but these problems were quickly spotted and remedied.

"They're machines," he said. "You have machines and humans working together and sometimes they don't mesh."

He stressed that even if a machine does go down or have problems, no votes are lost.

"We have less problems with the electronic machines than we did with the lever machines," he stated. "I never thought I'd say that." Most of his career was spent working with lever machines.

He said the main problems were that there were cases where there was some voter confusion on operating the machines.

The first returns came into the Election Office at 8:45 p.m. when Natalie Kleintop, judge of elections in Towamensing South brought in her machines and related components.

By 10:15, all votes were brought to the courthouse and tabulation - even of about 150 absentee ballots - was finished before 11 p.m.

In the days of the lever machines, it wasn't uncommon for tabulation to occur until the wee hours of the morning.

Most of the 15 or so county officials and election party officials were especially intrigued by the tight race on the Democratic ticket between Justin Yaich and Bruce Nalesnik for state House of Representatives.

After just nine precincts reported, it appeared Yaich would win easily, leading Nalesnik by 138 votes. Yaich had 39 percent of the votes at that point compared to Nalesnik's 25.6 percent.

Early reports can be deceiving, as evidenced by this race. By the time 34 precincts reported, Yaich still led by 156 votes (Yaich had 1170 votes while Nalesnik had 1,014).

All 51 precincts had reported and Yaich's lead was down to 47 votes with the 150 absentees missing.

The final margin of victory for Yaich over Nalesnik was by 41 votes.

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