Voting was light but steady at many Upper Bucks polls Tuesday morning.
It was a perfect “get out the vote” day with blue skies capping a landscape of absolutely aggressive greenery. Democrats and Republicans could agree on those points, at least, in what has become an extremely contentious primary election.
Colorful signs lined parking lots and sample ballots were offered as committeepeople and volunteers earnestly pushed their candidates names to the forefront.
One exception was at Palisades High School where Nockamixon Township voters were first greeted by Tom Cochrane who asked voters, “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?”
“Neither,” I told him, and he then offered his own version of ballots for each party.
Cochrane had told voters that up front as he urged them to “Vote for Kathy Gentner,” a Palisades School Board hopeful and current Durham Township supervisor in her second bid for a seat on the board. Lavender-haired Karen Beerer, also a Republican candidate for the board, was at the polls greeting voters. She said she had gone door-to-door and enjoyed meeting people.
Outraged poll workers from both parties claimed Cochrane’s ballots were “not the real ones, not official,” and got in touch with the office of state Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-10.
Bucks County Constable Lance Fisher soon arrived on the scene. He examined Cochrane’s literature and relayed it to county election officials who determined Cochrane had the right to distribute the material paid for by a PAC named Just Concerned Citizens.
Kim Barbero, who is president of the Palisades Democrats, organized just a year ago, said her group had grown from 40 to 250 members. “We’re trying to stop extremism,” she said. “Up here we’re not acclimated to dig that deep into school board matters—and then a loud minority shows up….”
Things were quieter at the Plumsteadville Firehouse where Matthew Given and Maria Evans were greeting voters. Given is running unopposed for Plumstead Township supervisor. Evans is a volunteer and said, “I’m doing this because parents have always had the right to choose what their children read, but parents don’t have the right to tell my children what to read,” referring to the battle raging over book banning in the Central Bucks School District.
At Deep Run Mennonite Church in Bedminster Township, Pennridge School Board President Dave Reiss, said, “We’re seeing educated voters. The ones that are here are asking questions. That’s good.”
Manning the Republican table with him was Kim Maychuk, who said, “It’s great to see people come out to vote.”
Bedminster Township Democrats, a true minority group, were represented by Jeannette Moser-Orr, who said, “We’ve had an increase on the Democratic side. She was accompanied by Kelly Jerrom, a committeewoman.
At the Springtown Firehouse, Supervisor Jim Nilsen wandered around the polls with his beautiful German shepherd, who he proclaimed is a working farm dog who intimidates the cows. Walt French, a candidate for the Palisades School Board, said he is happy with the district. “I have kids in Palisades and I want to make sure it stays that way,” he added.