Write-in votes from Dems fall short for 66th challenger

BROOKVILLE — The count of write-in votes from Jefferson County’s April 24 general election has concluded, with a Republican challenger for the 66th Legislative District claiming 239 write-in votes.

Friday, Cris Dush, of Pine Creek Township, carried Jefferson County over incumbent Republican Sam Smith, but the 239 write-ins are not enough for him to challenge Smith in the fall election on the Democratic ballot.

Karen Lupone, clerk and director of elections for Jefferson County, said the official count from the April 24 election is completed, and candidates will have five days to come to Jefferson Place to accumulate their write-in votes.

After that period, Lupone then can certify the election results.
The name of a write-in candidate appears on the tally sheet just as a voter typed the name into the voting device. Judging from the names that appear, a candidate can then choose which write-ins he or she chooses to accept.

In this case, Dush chose to accept 239 of the write-ins that appeared on the Jefferson County tally.

Lupone said in order to appear on the Democratic ballot in the fall, Dush would have had to collect 300 write-in votes. That’s the same number of names he had to collect on a petition to run for the office.

The race between Smith and Dush was close — only 71 votes separated Dush, who carried Jefferson County, and Smith, who carried Indiana County’s portions of the 66th District and its one precinct in Armstrong County.

As part of the official count, the goal is to see who received which write-in votes.

“I know that Dr. (James) Brown had some write-ins, and Sam had some,” Lupone said prior to the completion of the count. “It’s all going to come down to the final count. Everyone wants to know, all the candidates.”

Elsewhere, Smith’s numbers, coupled with the write-ins, in Indiana County appeared to indicate that he had still carried that county.
Robin Maryai, chief clerk in Indiana County, said although the official count was completed, she had not yet made the results official for the state.

Results after the April 24 primary showed that Smith collected 689 votes, while Dush collected 216, and Dr. James Brown collected 126 in the 13 Indiana County municipalities that make up the 66th District.

Friday, Maryai reported that after counting the write-ins, Smith received 27 write-ins; Dush had 15; and Brown had five.

In Redbank Township, Armstrong County, Smith collected 62 votes, while Dush garnered 17 during the April 24 election.

A call to the Armstrong County Board of Elections regarding write-ins was not returned Friday afternoon.