President Barack Obama won Centre County, state election results now show. That’s contrary to initial county election results, which showed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney winning it by 20 votes on Election Day.
That’s in large part because of absentee and provisional ballots, said Centre County Committee Chairman Greg Stewart. If students who registered to vote went to the wrong polling place, or poll workers couldn’t find their names on the voter rolls, the voters cast a provisional ballot, Stewart said.
Their ballots were counted, as long as election officials could verify after the election that those voters were registered to vote in Centre County, Stewart said.
Stewart said Democratic volunteers were a little surprised it was so close on election night, but they knew the results weren’t final.
“We also knew there were a fair amount of provisional ballots that had been cast, particularly in the student precincts,” Stewart said. “We were fairly confident that when they had all been counted, this would be the result.”
County results now reflect that Obama won Centre County by 175 votes. Obama won 34,176 votes, compared to Romney’s 34,001, according to county results.
State election returns show Obama winning the county by a different margin, 34,115 votes to Romney’s 33,964. County results should be updated after Thanksgiving, Stewart said.
Stewart said it’s the hard work of volunteers who devoted hundreds of hours that helped Obama win what would traditionally be a Republican county. The win for Obama should keep Democratic volunteers motivated for local elections in 2013 and statewide mid-term elections in 2014, he said.
There is no simple answer as to why Republican presidential candidates don’t do well in a county that elects Republican senators, congressman and state legislators, said Deb Flavin, Centre County Republican Committee secretary and executive director.
Republicans are happy they won a lot of precincts, Flavin said, but they need to do a better job of getting out the vote.
“We’re taking a hard look at the county, where we did well, where we didn’t do well,” Flavin said. “There are big swaths that go Democratic. In presidential elections, they go blue. We intend to win at the local level next year.”
She said Republicans also need to connect college students with their message and register more Republican voters. Volunteers are energized and ready to go again, Flavin said.
They have been working more neighbor-to-neighbor, she said, which has turned precincts red. Although Republicans wish Centre County had gone to Romney, they’re confident in the work they’re doing, Flavin said.
“We’re doing a good job. We just need to do better.” “Presidential elections don’t tell the story about what’s happening in Centre County.”