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Election 2017: Middletown mayor, Lower Swatara commissioner and county judge race top ballot

By Dan Miller danmiller@pressandjournal.com
Posted 5/10/17

The May 16 primary means a few changes for voters in Middletown.

The primary is the first election since borough council got rid of the wards in 2016, in favor of an “at-large” method of …

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Election 2017: Middletown mayor, Lower Swatara commissioner and county judge race top ballot

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The May 16 primary means a few changes for voters in Middletown.

The primary is the first election since borough council got rid of the wards in 2016, in favor of an “at-large” method of electing councilors.

Voters living anywhere in Middletown can now vote for any borough council candidate they choose. What ward you live in doesn’t matter anymore, as councilors are no longer chosen by ward.

Middletown is still divided into three wards, but only for the purpose of determining where people vote. For example, there are two precincts — voting locations — in each of the three wards in Middletown.

Key races in the area include a Republican primary between Robert Givler and Richard Hiester. There is no Democratic candidate for mayor on the primary ballot. Mayor James H. Curry III, formerly a Democrat, is now not registered with either party. He still may choose to run as an independent in the November general election, however.

Lower Swatara Township has a race for the board of commissioners, where Republicans — incumbents Laddie Springer and Ben Hall, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by now-state Rep. Tom Mehaffie, plus challengers Chris DeHart and Ronald Paul — are vying for two seats on the five-member board. No one is on the Democratic ballot.

Remember that Pennsylvania uses a closed primary process, which means voters are required to register with a political party to vote in the primary election.

The other change effective with the spring primary just impacts voters in the 1st Ward’s 2nd Precinct in Middletown.

Remember that voters in that precinct will vote in St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 121 N. Spring St., and not in the Community Building Auditorium — known as “the MCSO” — at Emaus and Catherine streets next to the borough building.

Dauphin County Board of Elections in March approved moving the polling place from the MCSO to St. Peter’s. St. Peter’s is more centrally located for 1st Ward/2nd Precinct voters, and has better parking, the county said.

There is one key countywide race, for Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. There are three seats open because of the death of Bernard L. Coates Jr. and the retirements of Bruce Bratton and Todd Hoover.

All six of the candidates cross-filed: defense attorney Royce L. Morris of Swatara Township, Salzmann Hughes partner John J. McNally III of Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. of Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Rozman of Steelton, Cipriani & Werner partner Jeffrey T. McGuire of Lower Paxton Township, and incumbent Judge Lori K. Serratelli of Susquehanna Township.

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote.