Voters in Northumberland County can count on seeing an abundance of names on the May 21 municipal primary ballot.

The crowded ballot will reflect the large influx of candidates who will be seeking the nomination of their respective political parties for four county row offices, seats on local school boards, mayor in boroughs and cities and seats on township boards and city councils. In addition, the Milton area has a race for a magisterial district judge position, which has been vacant since early 2012.

Starting Feb. 19, candidates are allowed to circulate nomination petitions. Deadline for filing the petitions with the county board of elections is March 12.

Judge, county

Alisha Herb, county director of elections, said the elections office has already received several inquiries about the race for magisterial district judge in the Milton area. Voters in that district will elect a new judge for a six-year term.

Following the retirement in 2011 of District Judge William F. Kear after 25 years, District Judge Robert Bolton of Sunbury was reassigned to the Milton district court. Bolton also retired in February 2012 and since then, Senior District Judge Richard P. Cashman has been serving as a temporary replacement.

The Milton area magisterial district consists of Delaware, East Chillisquaque, Lewis, Point, Turbot and West Chillisquaque townships and McEwensville, Milton, Turbotville and Watsontown boroughs.

Candidates for magisterial district judge are permitted to cross-file on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.

County positions that are up for election in 2013 are controller, prothonotary, register and recorder and coroner. Incumbents are: Tony Phillips, controller; Kathleen Strausser, prothonotary; Mary Zimmerman, register and recorder, and James F. Kelley, coroner. Phillips, Strausser and Zimmerman are Republicans, and Kelley is a Democrat.

The position of Northumberland County jury commissioner will no longer be on the ballot. The county commissioners, as now permitted by state law, voted in late 2011 to abolish the office. The last two elected jury commissioners, George Dorko and Sam Deitrick, are serving until the expiration of their terms at the end of 2013.

Required signatures

To qualify for placement on the primary election ballot, candidates for county, district judge and most city (Shamokin and Sunbury) offices must obtain at least 100 valid signatures. Candidates for township and borough offices must have at least 10 signatures.

Candidates for school director in the Mount Carmel Area, Danville, Line Mountain, Milton Area, Southern Columbia and Warrior Run school districts are required to obtain 10 signatures on each petition. Shamokin Area and Shikellamy school board candidates, however, must obtain 100 signatures because parts of the districts (Shamokin City and Sunbury, respectively) are third class cities.

Candidates for school director may submit nomination petitions to run in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Candidates for judge of election need 10 signatures, and inspector of election require five.

Herb said the elections office makes sure each petition meets all the legal standards - the proper number of signatures, the petition circulator belongs to the same political party as the candidate and that the petition is properly notarized.

Candidates may sign their own nomination petitions.

Filing fees

The following filing fees are in effect:

$100 - County controller, register and recorder, prothonotary and coroner.

$50 - Magisterial district judge

$25 - City mayor, city council, city treasurer and city controller.

$10 - City, township and borough constable.

No filing fee - School director, township commissioner or supervisor, borough mayor, borough council, township and borough tax collector, borough and township auditor, judge and inspector of election.

The last day to register to vote prior to the primary is April 22. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is May 14.