Today is the 2021 primary election in the Lehigh Valley. Campaign signage was placed outside Broughal Middle School, which was a Northampton County polling place. (Clare Fonstein/B&W Staff)

Primary elections taking place to determine the future of local politics in the Lehigh Valley

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Today is the 2021 Lehigh Valley primary election for Bethlehem mayor, Northampton County’s magisterial district judge, the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners and new judges on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas.

The polls were open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Jordan Knisley, who is a candidate for magisterial district justice 03-2-10 was set up outside the polling center at Broughal Middle School. She said that the location, which is just a few steps away from Lehigh’s campus, was expected to have the highest number of electors and to be the most popular polling site for Northampton County. 

Knisley said that voter turnout in Southside Bethlehem is usually very small compared to the rest of the city. 

“My biggest concern is that people actually get  out and vote today. You can knock on as many doors as you want. People seem to like your platform, like who you are, they want to vote for you, but you need to make sure they actually get out and vote today,” she said. 

Knisley said she recognized a lot of the people at the polls from canvassing and door knocking. 

Knisley’s uncle and campaign co-chairman, Harry DeWalt, was also visiting the polling locations. He emphasized that it is important for people to continue voting beyond just presidential elections, which generally achieve the highest turnout. 

“It’s particularly important when it’s a municipal election and you have mayor races, city council races, because those are the people that really determine the course of the city and certainly the course of policy of the city,” he said. 

Susan Rybak was also at the Broughal polling site to support her brother Anthony Rybak, who is running for magisterial district justice as well. 

Rachel Leon, a candidate for city council said that the turnout for voting today was not that high since a lot of people have voted early and by mail. 

Leon grew up on the Southside and is running on an environmentalism platform. Leon said that she has enjoyed the campaign and does not see a bad outcome because all of her opponents also have the city’s best interest at heart. 

“Local elections matter,” Leon said. “You’re not going to change the country once every four years.” 

The outcomes of the election are expected to roll in throughout the evening as votes are counted. 

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