May 19—Despite a series of high-profile referendums on the spring ballot, 30% of Cambria County's voters cast ballots Tuesday, unofficial totals show.
Tribune-Democrat archive stories show two recent municipal primaries pulled in 30% and 26% turnouts — one of which weathered a snowstorm — so that's not an uncommon result.
But it's also a steep drop from the record 83% that voted in the November presidential election across the region.
According to Maryann Dillon, chief clerk in the Cambria County Elections Office, 25,730 people voted Tuesday — 4,943 of them through absentee or mail-in ballots.
That means mail-ins counted for 19% of the total ballot this time around, compared to 25% in November.
There are a total of 85,591 registered voters in Cambria, including more than 40,241 Republicans, 36,354 Democrats and 8,996 third party or independent voters.
Albert Chromy of Johnstown was among the pool who didn't vote Tuesday.
Chromy said he was glad to see contested races at the city and county level this year — but it wasn't enough to get him to cast a ballot.
Unhappy with "party choices" such as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, he said he's been turned off by the process the past few years.
"It's my protest," he said with a laugh.
Helen Cosgrove, also of Johnstown, did vote — "like I always do," she said.
She said local races, rather then referendums sent her back to the voting booth.
But while sitting under an umbrella for lunch alongside a friend who didn't vote Tuesday, Cosgrove wasn't surprised to hear the turnout ended up at 30%.
"I think people have a lot on their minds, including the virus," she said.
Somerset County listed a total of 16,447 votes counted Tuesday. Somerset County Election officials weren't reached for comment.