Election 2020: We Did Our Part! Huge Southwest Turnout

Photo on the left:  The end of a long, patient wait; voters in a Southwest polling place sign in and await their turn to pick up their paper ballots and register their critically important votes. Several hundred voters had lined up in the chill predawn to exercise their hard-won voting rights. 

Photo on the right:  At a newly minted polling place, election officials guide voters through the process of using the new voting machines. This assistance was a big help to both elderly and the many first-time Southwest residents.
Photo on the left: The end of a long, patient wait; voters in a Southwest polling place sign in and await their turn to pick up their paper ballots and register their critically important votes. Several hundred voters had lined up in the chill predawn to exercise their hard-won voting rights. Photo on the right: At a newly minted polling place, election officials guide voters through the process of using the new voting machines. This assistance was a big help to both elderly and the many first-time Southwest residents.

50,000+ Southwest votes have national impact

A young Southwest voter’s words were prophetic, “This will probably be the most important election of my life!” As he stood in the cold outside Myers Recreation Center waiting his turn to cast a ballot, his focus was on the presidential election. Three days later he is warmed by the realization that his efforts may have contributed to an election decision that many feel will affect his inner-city community and the nation for years to come.  

The Election Day turnout of Southwest Philadelphia voters was surprisingly large considering the huge proportion of them which had already voted by mail because of Covid19 concerns. Thousands more voters had lined up at Tilden Middle School during the weeks before November 3rd to register and vote. They waited patiently for hours in the chill late fall air to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s new “no-fault” Early Voting option.

The pre-Election Day opportunities notwithstanding, as dawn began to break broke several hundred local residents were already standing in line at polling places to cast their ballots. Without exception, all were properly masked against the spread of the pandemic and maintained the required 6-foot social distancing.

One local Judge of Elections discovered at 6:30 a.m. that one of her voting machines was not working. The technician she summoned from the City Commissioners office inspected the machine about 8:00 a.m. but a preplacement wasn’t installed until 10:00. This slowed the voting process to only one machine, but voters remained patient and gracefully accepted the additional wait.   

As of mid-morning, their steadfast observance of the hard-earned right to vote had been rewarded by a slim 5,000 vote plurality for former Vice-President Joe Biden the Democratic Party candidate. When one considers that over 90,000 Democratic votes had been generated in the four State Representative districts which share a part of Southwest, the turnout here could be considered pivotal in the Pennsylvania results which in turn may well be decisive in putting Mr. Biden over the top for 270 electoral votes. 

Much credit must be given to the four State Representatives whose seats were contested: new Rep. Regina Young (184th Dist.); Rep. Jordan Harris, (185th Dist.); Rep. Joanna McClinton (191st Dist.); and new Rep. Rick Krajewski (195th Dist.). These four ran unopposed in their districts and yet made strong efforts to get out the vote and promote the candidacy of Mr. Biden and his Vice Presidential running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.

Particularly memorable was the work of Rep. McClinton, a lifelong resident of Southwest and currently State House Democratic Chairwoman. Though quite secure in her SW district, she traveled around the state in her spare time to support in person other Democratic candidates.   

The final verdict on the presidential vote is not in at this point. While Mr. Biden in his calm, statesman-like manner has asked the nation to be patient and peace full while all the votes are verified and counted, Pres. Trump and his backers are vigorously pursuing legal challenges to the current results which favor his Democratic opponent in 5-6 pivotal borderline states.  

Pennsylvania is one of the states where Mr. Trump’s legal efforts are extraordinarily active. His lawyers began early-on to challenge the counting of votes after Election Day – which his own legislators in Harrisburg had specifically approved this summer! The fact that he had been suggesting that mail-in balloting was susceptible of fraud not only appears to have undercut the use of that option by his party adherents – and is proving a decisive element in his possible defeat. 

Also, his legal minions are questioning the adequacy of Republican poll watching in this state and in other states where the outcome hangs in the balance. There is a strong likelihood that this and other legal objections will rise through the judicial system to the Supreme Court, newly packed with Trump appointees.

With regard to the legitimacy of the voting in Pennsylvania, Republican Senator Pat Toomey said on NBC Radio this morning that President Trump’s complaints about election fraud and his claim that he had already won by “legal” votes were baseless! 

 “The president’s allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated. I’m not aware of any significant wrongdoing here,” Toomey said.

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