Summit County counts over 5,600 ballots in this year’s primary election
June 27, 2018
2018 turned out to be one of the busiest primary seasons in years for Summit County, as over 5,600 ballots were counted in the first election to see unaffiliated voters cast a ballot in either major party's primary.
Summit County Clerk & Recorder Kathleen Neel said the election went smoothly despite the big new change. Neel said that of the over 1,600 unaffiliated ballots counted, only 21 have to be rejected due to voters sending in ballots for both parties.
Neel's office also had to work with election judges to set up a process where unaffiliated voters could be properly sorted into the primary they voted in without compromising secrecy of the ballot.
In total, the county received 5,530 ballots for this primary election, which is over double the 2,268 ballots cast in the 2016 primary and 2,231 in 2014. As far as party affiliation, 2,250 ballots came in from Democrats, 1,254 from Republicans and 1,673 came from unaffiliated voters.
In the only contested county election, deputy treasurer Ryne Scholl won a close contest against Keystone Science School finance director Maggie Murray. Unless an independent candidate tries to enter the race later on, Scholl is running unopposed this November and is a safe bet to be Summit County's next treasurer.
Scholl thanked his supporters who have had his back for the past six months and looked forward to a seamless transition from day one from his current boss, treasurer Bill Wallace.
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"I look forward to taking on a larger leadership role in office, one that I've already started taking under Wallace," Scholl said. "Voters recognized that experience mattered. I intend to identify what's best for the office and county going forward and make sure we're following the proper policies and procedures to make this a smooth transition."
Scholl got 1,862 votes to Murray's 1,534 in a competitive race that Scholl said "brought the best out" of both candidates.
Murray congratulated Scholl in a statement and thanked supporters, encouraging voters to support progressive candidates in all races come this fall and going forward.
"The unprecedented turnout in this primary speaks to our desire to affect change throughout our government — from treasurer to sheriff to state house to governor," Murray said in the statement. "We the voters have the power to move mountains, we should never forget that."
Dillon resident and Summit School District communications director Julie McCluskie, who was unopposed for the Democratic candidacy for House District 61, said she looks forward to the November race against Delta County resident Mike Mason. However, at the moment she's still focused on reaching out to the district and its voters.
"I am focused on making sure voters get to know me," McCluskie said. "I am very committed to talking to as many people in this county as possible. I hear a lot from voters about the need for affordable, accessible health care, solving the challenge of adequately funding public education, and taking action on climate change."
Election day is Nov. 6.