Nearly three of four eligible voters in Butler County cast ballots in Tuesday’s election.
“It was a strong turnout and a good showing,” said Shari Brewer, county director of elections. “I was happy.”
What drove voters to the polls, say election officials and political experts, was the hotly contested presidential contest that saw President Barack Obama win a second term. But there was a ballot-packed field of other candidates seeking a U.S. Senate seat, a congressional race featuring a Butler native son, a trio of statewide row offices and two referendums in the county.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm out there,” said Jeff Smith, chairman of the county Republican Committee. “The polls were crowded with people wanting to participate in the process. That’s always a good thing.”
And despite the crush of voters and some confusion over the Pennsylvania’s on-hold photo identification law, voters cast their ballots with few if any glitches, Brewer said.
“Things ran pretty smoothly,” she said, “and there were really no problems.”
The county’s turnout was 73 percent, according to unofficial results. That was just under the 75 percent for the 2008 presidential race.
Four years ago, 91,529 ballots were cast, the most ever in the county. On Tuesday, 89,764 ballots were recorded.
The county’s turnout in 2004 was 76 percent; in 2000, it was 68.5 percent.
The county’s record showing was an 87 percent turnout in 1992.
The county’s two largest municipalities, Cranberry and Butler townships, racked up turnouts of 76 percent each.
The third and fourth most populated municipalities, Butler and Adams Township, had turnouts of 61 and 78 percent, respectively.
Turnout among the county’s other large municipalities included 79 percent in Penn Township, 77 percent in Center and Middlesex townships, 76 percent in Jefferson Township and 75 percent in Buffalo Township.
The worst showing of the county’s top 10 municipalities was Slippery Rock Township with a 50 percent turnout.