Blank Spaces on Ballots

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MIDDLEBURG -- In some areas such as Scranton, the mayoral race is contested and intense, complete with debates and TV commercials. But in other communities, including Middleburg, you won't even see any yard signs for a mayoral candidate. That's because no candidates are on the ballot.

"Either there is just not enough interest or if there is an interest, they believe they can take the write-in campaign and get a win," Patricia Nace said.

There are at least seven boroughs in central Pennsylvania that do not have anyone on the ballot for mayor. According to Snyder County Election Director Patricia Nace, it's not unusual.

"This is my 33rd election and I've seen it many times," Nace said.

This happens all over central Pennsylvania in smaller municipalities, where mayors don't have as much power as mayors in big cities like Scranton and Hazleton.

"The mayor position, hopefully someone will want it and write themselves in," Christina Mensch said.

Christina Mensch is a Judge of Elections in Turbotville, where the population is around 800. There is no police department in Turbotville, and it's considered a weak mayor system.

"The mayor gets a lot of the calls. There's a dog barking here. What are you going to do about it? Or, somebody is burning after dark," Mensch said.

"They're part of borough council but they're kind of very symbolic. They don't vote unless there is a tie. They don't have a lot of power, but they're part of parades," Alan Potter said.

Election officials say write-in candidates take longer to count and cost the counties more money, because of postage. If the write-in winners do not accept, there is a last resort to finding a mayor.

"We will end up having to appoint it or we will have to put a little ad out to see if we can get somebody to run for mayor," Mensch said.

There are also quite a few other positions left open on the ballots, such as borough council seats. Those positions must all be filled by write-in votes.

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