The 2008 Pennsylvania primary is set for Tuesday, April 22 to choose candidates for presidential and state legislative races. For Democrats, there are 188 delegates at stake and 74 delegates at stake for Republicans – both awarded proportionally.
The race to the White House on the Democratic side features New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Arizona Senator John McCain sits atop the Republican nomination by a large margin, which could sway Republicans to switch parties to vote for McCain’s challenger.
Tyrone Borough has thrown a twist into the primary for its registered voters. Those who vote in the primary on Tuesday will have the opportunity to take a non-binding, yes or no, survey on the proposed Gamesa wind farm project on Ice Mountain. The project would place 10 to 15 wind turbines on the borough’s watershed property, which is part of the proposed Sandy Ridge Wind Farm project.
Although Pennsylvania is in the midst of an important primary that will directly affect the Democratic nomination for president and the opportunity to vote on the wind farm project, the borough only witnessed a slight increase in voter registration.
Out of the borough’s seven wards and its roughly 5,500 residents according to the 2000 census, total voter registration in all parties went up from 3,193 in November of 2007, to 3,260 for the 2008 primary. Sixty-seven additional people registered to vote, but all seven wards showed an increase in registration.
Within the borough’s seven wards, there was a strong increase in Democratic party registration and a decline in Republican registration across all wards.
In 2007, the borough had 992 Democratic registrars and in 2008 the number increased by 103 people to 1,095. The Republican registration went down from 1,866 in 2007 to 1,837 in 2008, which is 29 less people.
A total of 2,932 borough residents registered either Democrat or Republican. The borough has a total of 3,260 registered voters, but 328 people registered independent and will not be able to vote in the primary, but Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin would like to see independent registrars still be able to take the wind farm survey.
“For those who are borough resident independent and don’t get to vote in the primary, but desire to vote on the wind mill survey, please contact me at the borough office,” stated Kilmartin.
He added in regards to both the wind mill survey and presidential election, “I am excited to see people stepping up and making their voice heard. Sometimes in a small town we don’t feel we can make a difference, but we play a significant role in helping shape society.”
Tyrone Borough Manager Sharon Dannaway thinks the increase in voter registration has to do with the tight Democratic race for the presidential nomination.
“Republicans will switch over to vote for who will run against McCain,” said Dannaway. “It makes the whole thing very exciting.”
As for the wind farm survey and its impact on voter registration, Dannaway said, “We would have hoped it influenced the increase, but there’s no way of knowing. Either way, it’s very exciting – whether on the local level or national level.”
The voting booths for Tyrone Borough’s seven wards are as follows: Ward 1 – District Justice Fred B. Miller’s office; Ward 2 – Epworth Manor; Ward 3 – First Presbyterian Church; Ward 4 – First Assembly of God Church; Ward 5 – Neptune Fire Co.; Ward 5 – Church of the Good Shepherd; and Ward 6 – Christian Missionary Alliance Church.