CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that John O. Yoder III is a Mount Joy Township supervisor. He is a West Donegal Township supervisor.
Although most of the local races on Tuesday, Nov. 7, are uncontested, this year voters in the Elizabethtown Area School District have a choice to make about school board and voters in most of Elizabethtown Borough have contested races for Borough Council.
Also, one of the people on the ballot does not plan to serve. West Donegal Township Supervisor John O. Yoder III is on the ballot for re-election, but he has been hired to be the township manager and has offered his resignation from the elected office. It was too late for Yoder’s name to be removed from the ballot, so he will most likely be re-elected unless a well-organized write-in candidate manages to get more votes than Yoder. It was unclear if anyone was planning a write-in campaign; Yoder told the Advocate he did not know of anyone doing so.
Because this is a general election, people may vote for candidates of any political party, not just the party in which they are registered to vote. In the Elizabethtown Area School District, six people are vying for four seats on the school board. Republican incumbent Michelle Pelna is on the ballot along with newcomers Menno Riggleman and James Read. The Democratic candidates are Andrew J. Esoldo, Kelly Shaffer Fuddy and Erin Grosh.
In Elizabethtown Borough, Republican Mayor Chuck Mummert is unopposed for re-election, as is Ward 3 Borough Council member Marc Hershey, also a Republican. In Ward 1 (the area where people vote in the small building behind the Lutheran church), there is a three-way race to be the successor to Borough Council member C. Dale Treese, who is not seeking re-election. Republican Chris Seitz is facing off against Democratic nominee Bill Troutman and Green Party nominee Timothy Runkle. In Ward 2 (the area where people vote at the borough office), incumbent Republican Neil Ketchum is being challenged by Democrat Mary Auker-Endres.
The Donegal School District has an uncontested general election for school board. All other elections for borough council members and township supervisors in the Elizabethtown Area and Donegal school districts are uncontested.
Countywide, Sergeant Deputy Sheriff Chris Leppler is the Republican nominee for county sheriff; he is a graduate of Elizabethtown Area High School. Leppler is facing off against Democratic nominee Chris Genetti, a Maytown man who was a Lancaster City police officer from 1991 to 2016, receiving several commendations. He was a member of the Lancaster Special Emergency Response Team for eight years. They are vying to be the successor to Republican Mark Reese, who was elected twice as sheriff but resigned July 31 amid allegations he sexually harassed a deputy sheriff. The agency was under the direction of an acting sheriff since July 2016.
The other countywide offices are uncontested: Jeff Conrad has both major parties’ nominations for judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Republican Brian Hurter is unopposed for county controller and Republican Ann M. Hess is unopposed for recorder of deeds.
Statewide, there is a vote on whether to change the state Constitution to let counties, municipalities and school districts exclude up to the full value of residents’ homes that they own from taxation.
Local governments have had the ability for two decades to exclude up to half the median value of homes in their area.
The ballot measure gives the General Assembly the ability to pass a law authorizing local governments to make the change, but it does not provide a way to make up the lost taxes, particularly the billions that are collected every year to fund public schools.
In the biggest statewide election, an appointed state Supreme Court justice will have to beat a former Pittsburgh Steeler to keep her job. The high court has been in Democratic hands since 2015, and the contested race can’t flip the majority to the Republicans.
Justice Sallie Mundy, a Republican nominated by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate last year, is running for a full 10-year term. Two other justices face retention elections and are likely to remain on the court — Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican, and Justice Debra Todd, a Democrat.
Mundy’s opponent is Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Dwayne Woodruff, a Democrat who won a Super Bowl and earned a law degree while playing as a defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The court, which currently has five Democrats and two Republicans, has issued divided decisions in the past two years on public school funding, changes to the sex offender registry and gas drilling in state forests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.