After months of rhetoric, television advertisements and campaign rallies, Delaware County residents stood in long lines on Tuesday to vote for presidential candidates President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
Delaware County’s 397,773 registered voters had the chance to choose candidates ranging from president to state office. Of the 397,773 registered voters, 176,252 are Republicans and 174,890 are Democrats, which leaves 46,631 registered with other parties or without affiliation.
“One of the first things that I did on Tuesday was vote,” said Boothwyn resident Wendell Sammons. “My kids came into town Monday night, so that they could vote here on Tuesday. We all want a better future and economy. I was pleased with what President Barack did during his first time and I’m looking forward to him building on that.”
In September, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson blocked Pennsylvania’s controversial voter identification law from taking effect during this year’s election.
The law would have required voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Despite the ruling on the voter ID law; there have been issues at polling places in Chester.
“A lot of polling places were telling people that they need to have their ID,” said Chester Democratic Committee chairperson Livia H. Smith. “Some places were even turning people away. The law in Pennsylvania states that they can ask residents for ID, but you can’t turn them away. We have been helping the residents with this by advising them and having them call a number to report this. Despite the obstacles, it has not stopped the residents for fighting for their right to vote.”
Both campaigns have assembled legal teams to leap into action at any hint of voting irregularities, like voting machine malfunctions, allegations of voter intimidation and challenges to the legitimacy of absentee and “provisional” votes.
“The legal teams were set up as a precautionary measure; we wanted to make sure everyone’s right to vote would be exercised and no one would be turned away from the polls,” said Sandi Townsend of Organizing for America. “There have been so many different issues surrounding this particular election. Our job was not only to get people to show up at the polls, but to also keep them informed on everything. The only way to make sure everything goes smoothly during the election process is to have things in place if something does go wrong.”
Staging location director of Organizing for America Delores McLamb believes that this presidential election isn’t just about the issues of the country, but also the youth needing to know about their history.
“A lot of our youth don’t really understand the importance of this election or the issues that we as a society are facing,” McLamb said. “We as parents and a society it’s our job to not only keep the youth informed, but also ourselves. People can stand in line for 10 hours for materialistic things, but they also need to be willing to stand in line for what they believe.
“In order to make history, we have to keep informing the youth about history. If you succumb to what everyone else is doing, then they will keep doing it. The best way to fight back is through voting - it is your constitutional right.”