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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, November 11, 2016

Voters Who Inspire

As most of you know, I take off my blogger's hat on election day and serve as an elections judge. I only have this position because very few people have the time to put in such a long day. I really consider it an honor. It's given me a great deal of respect for voters.

At every election, I see people who come with canes and walkers, but they come. Some can no longer see clearly, and need help in the voting booth. But they come.

One of those voters Tuesday was Steve Salvesen, a long-time Hanover Township Supervisor who just had a hip replacement. He came on crutches, in obvious pain, but stood quietly in line until it was his turn to vote. A tall man, he had some difficulty getting into the booth with his crutches, but managed to do his civic duty.

Another voter was an elderly woman with a cane who stood in line in one ward at the community center for 1 1/2 hours, only to be told she had to vote in another ward. She stood in line there, only to discover that she was not listed there, either. She came to us, very upset.

A phone call to the elections office revealed that she had been right all along and was registered to vote at the community center. But by this time, she was exhausted and it was getting late. She cast a provisional ballot. Instead of being angry, she was happy to know that her voice would be heard. She was given a receipt with a number to call to learn whether her vote counted.

Someone screwed up at the community center, but we screwed up in our ward, too. Though one woman insisted she was registered in our district, we were unable to find her and the elections office was unable to find her listed, either. I let her cast a provisional ballot, but told her to return if she found her registration card.

About an hour later, she was back. She found her registration card, and she had been registered in our district. We were unable to find her name because we forgot to look at the beginning of the poll book, for voters who registered after the poll books were prepared.

We destroyed the provisional ballot and she was able to vote.

There were also two Chinese guys who came in, neither of whom spoke a word of English. They were smiling and walked in and said they were there to vote, but were unable to tell us their names.

None of us speaks Mandarin.

They left they way they came, smiling. Maybe they thought they could just walk in and vote.

My team put in a very long day, from 6 am to 9 pm with no breaks.

Though the election results are contrary to my own wishes, I have to honor and respect the views of fellow citizens who felt otherwise. That's the way a democratic republic works. The system is imperfect, as you can see, but is far from rigged.

Those who are protesting in the streets should have encouraged their friends and families to vote. This is democracy, not mobocracy.


Anonymous said...

Not only does your vote count, but in pa it counted more than 200,000 votes elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Since the Republicans endorsed the, "I will not accept Hillary Clinton as my President" website, it is only fitting that there be a new website the, "I will not accept Donald Trump as my President" website. Is that conciliatory enough for everyone?

Anonymous said...

One voter walked in, saw the line and immediately left. When asked if he was coming back hes response was. "I dont know. Hunting is more important."

Anonymous said...

My team? By that statement I assume you were the head you know what.
You are at the Community Center? Next election I will come by to see what you look like. I voted at Hanover Elementary and saw a fat white guy sitting inside the voting area and thought maybe it was you, but guess not.
Heard from a friend who voted at the synagogue that she arrived to find herself behind a bus from Atria and had to wait an hour and a half. I am not complaining, I may be on that bus next time.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The fact that I referred to something as my team does not mean that I am the head of the team your assumption is totally misplaced. I was at the school.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Phillies fan. I call them my team. I do not presume to be the head of the Phillies.

Great post. I stood in line for 90 minutes with people who were calm, respectful and determined to participate. Disabled folks were shepherded to the front of the line. Nobody minded at all. It was uplifting.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I like that you sent the disabled to the front. I should have made more of an effort for them.

Anonymous said...

at my polling place there were long lines with anyone disabled went to the front of the line.
the poll workers were friendly and helpful to all.
many parents brought their kids and waited quietly.
I was behind a couple that managed to grumble all the talking points of the trump vision.
it was amusing to hear how well some of the right wing propaganda had sunk in.
I heard the election is rigged and voter id is the cause.
as it was a school the common core was pure evil.
the only thing important to the guy ahead of me was he thinks he has a tax cut coming.
I wonder what their views about vote rigging is now--seeming how the Donald managed an electoral college win.
however the atmosphere was uplifting in that the people were their to cast their ballot and most kept their views to themselves.
the impression was that voting was important for everyone who was there.
no arguments or bad behavior.

Karen Richardson said...

great post bernîe! thanks for being so diligent! it can't be easy for you and your team to go that long with no breaks! thank God for the provisional ballot. GREAT TEAMWORK!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm glad you had a generally positive experience. Had I heard anyone discussing Trump or Clinton, I would have asked that it shop.

I think when two precincts vote in one polling place, they should be combined . This would avoid the delays from standing in the wrong line. It would also make it easier for poll workers to divide the books.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have the easiest job. The machine operator has the hardest. She has to catch people who walk off without voting. She also deals with numerous questions all day.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the system IS rigged. When you have a person winning the popular vote, i.e. the will of the populace, and the systems says that she (in this case) does not become President because of a system based upon an accommodation to the slave states in 1787, the system is rigged. The voice of the people has been silenced by this Constitutional oddity. Of course, in this year of the unthinkable, just maybe some Electors will not vote for Trump on December 19. They may not vote for Clinton, either. If 30 do so, the question goes to the House of Representatives, who then selects the next President. With the current make up, certainly a Republican will be elected, but at least it will be someone who is not repulsive, erratic or unfit. Trump, himself, called the Electoral College undemocratic and something akin to deplorable back in 2012, when he thought Obama had lost the popular vote (which he did not). Sign the Petition! Over 3 million have already done so.

Anonymous said...

The electoral collage may be flawed, but it is there for a reason. To ensure the most populated states don't control the future of all 50. That would lead to a candidate pandering to the states with the most voters and the rural part of the country getting screwed. There has to be checks and balances. Trump won 30 states. Clinton 20. Should Clinton be President because she took California and New York?

Anonymous said...

Considering how heated and divisive this election was, my hour plus wait in Upper Nazareth was quite civil and almost festive. I was proud to be part of the process, and while my candidate came up short I respect the outcome and will get behind Mr. Trump and hope that he can be an effective leader.

Anonymous said...


Nebraska has 1.8 million people and 2 senators.

Los Angeles has 3.8 million people alone and California 38.8 million people in total and just 2 senators.

Everyone everywhere should have their vote count equally.

Votes should not be taking from one person as "vote welfare" to Nebraska. Nebraskans are already over represented in the senate to accommodate the concerns you mention.

Personally I don't care, I am an atheist when is comes to government. I know it's bullshit and I don't bother twisting language in knots trying to justify something we all know is bull.

Anonymous said...

The system works exactly as it should in a constitutional democratic representative republic made up of individual states sates. The system works. Be careful what you wish for.

I like peaches!

Anonymous said...

Peaches is a 4...5 tops.

Anonymous said...

The reality in America today is, if you don't like the outcome of an election, go out and destroy. When Obama was elected, no republicans ran to the streets beating their opponents. But yesterday, the progressive Democrats were so angry that a fair election produced a fruit they did not desire, they saw fit to go out and destroy what does not belong to them, and hurt those who may have opposed them. Consider the video of two black men beating a white man because they believe he voted for their opposition. Do they know he did? Most likely not! However, he was white, so he must have. That sounds to me like hate! Consider that if the white man had a carry permit, pulled his gun in self defense, he would be called a racist who killed two black men. Watch the video on YouTube, then decide if the beating was justified, and if in self defense, the white man would have been justified. The division in current America is nearing a very dangerous border, one which no wall will satisfy. I am a Latino democrat who did vote for Trump. I consider myself the difference that no progressive saw coming. And while I do not advocate hate or brutality, I can tell you with certainty that those two idiots should be happy they did not come across me, for they would have been sadly surprised!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of "street theater"...Things are more complicated than you may think?

...as Walter Sobchak once said, "I can get you a toe by 3 o'clock".

Anonymous said...

The idiots destroying are a minority of the demonstrators. The demonstrators, a minority of the Democrats. My candidate lost and I accept it.
The big difference when Obama got elected was that his opponents never campaigned on a platform of the election being rigged. If Trump had lost, I have no doubt the most radical of the right would be marching.
That doesn't mean I agree with the Trump haters who are demonstrating. They are wasting their time. What do they think will be accomplished? Clinton lost. Accept it and go home. Demonstrate (peacefully) against an actual law he might pass and with your mid-term vote in two years.

Anonymous said...

This was a coup by the FBI.

PippySqueek said...

I give kudos to the group at the 1st ward in Salisbury. Very organized so that everything went smoothly. In at 8 and out by 8:07.

Anonymous said...

well mr trump can make a speech and resolve the racial/religious tensions he has caused.
for example the donald can visit a mosque and share a meal with Islamic religious leaders.
following the visit he can remark how he hopes that the trump administration will work to replace hatred for islam with tolerance and respect.
mr trump can quote a passage from the Quran dealing with hope and humanity.
to minorities mr trump can come right out and state that bigotry from the likes of the kkk and david duke types are not welcome in any way.
trump will avow to remove anyone in his admin who fails to reject the haters in the alt-right.
this would undercut most of the fears caused by mr trump's rhetoric.
mr trump can heal the racial and religious divide as he will truly serve the country by uniting Americans.

Anonymous said...

If I was running a country of divided people on the verge of flashpoint.

I would ENGINEER a systems of relief valves, and orchestrate counterintelligence demonstrations with the facial recognition software to catch and neutralize the very violent, and allow people to vent.

But that's just me.

I would also understand that well resourced partisans will be financing "street theater" to illustrate a certain narrative that makes their opponents look dangerous.

But again that's just me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Pippysqueek, That's pretty good. People in our ward waited about 40 minutes the first hour, mostly bc they started coming at 6 am. After that, we got it down to 15-20 minutes.

Anonymous said...

and how do you prevent everyone who protests peacefully from being considered a threat?
the argument would be those folks are peaceful now but maybe not in the future.
you would be laying down the foundation for "thought" police.

Anonymous said...


Eyes wide shut.

Anonymous said...

Single payer health care is the only way to go. Before Obamacare costs were going up all the time for better converge. There were a few shit plans that were severely limited you could pick up cheaper. Cost of drugs and everything else was constantly rising.

People are pretending we were in medical bliss before Omamacare but they are just bullshiting themselves and others or have no memory of reality.

Health Insurance companies are a pox and no longer relevant. They exist to make money. You think they make money being sure you get all the medical care you need?

I like apples!

Anonymous said...

I like those apples.