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Calm settles over Bucks County primary polls

With presidential races decided, a relaxed atmosphere reigned on Election Day


Editor's Note: A photo caption attached to this story has been updated to remove the suggestion that Trish and Peter Benz were working the polls in support of Mark Houck. They were hoping to be elected committee members in the township.

At just after 1 p.m., Tuesday voting was so light at the Durham Township polls that the Republicans apparently took off, perhaps for luncheon, leaving the Democrats an open field. At that point only 73 people had cast their ballots.

In other places Pennsylvania Primary Election voters arrived in a slow but steady stream that increased in the late afternoon.

The atmosphere at most mimicked the national political scene. Democrats and Republicans kept their distance from each other.

At Palisades High School where Nockamixon residents were voting, conservative Republicans Thomas Rogers and Ruth Ochoe passed out unofficial sample ballots outside the polls, while the traditional Republicans gathered at the end of a long, long hallway.

At the polls in November, a similar action had caused a fury and a court ruling against the practice. This time, though, according to Nancy Overton, Democratic committeewoman, any action against the incident would have had to have come from the Republicans and that did not happen.

Generally speaking, the atmosphere at all the polls was a bit kinder and a lot calmer than last November’s election.

Volunteers from both parties at Bedminster West worked together to chase sample ballots blown away by a brisk wind. The poll, on Irish Meetinghouse Road, was one of the busiest with the number of Republican voters vastly outweighing the Democrats. Still, Dawn Kurran, a committeewoman, manned the blue-covered table. Her mother, Sue Stetler, a volunteer, joined her.

A handful of Republican volunteers gathered under a red tent along with Trish and Peter Benz, who were hoping to be elected committee members in the township after moving from Buckingham.

At the Springfield East polls, Democrat Ruth Anderson, a retired art educator, was a first-time volunteer. She said the experience was “exciting.”

Cora Landis, manning the Republican table, said she wished there was more interest in providing information to those with disabilities about the use of mail-in ballots.

The happiest volunteers and committee members were at the Haycock Township polls. They pride themselves on their geniality and ability to work together. Unlike the other separated parties, they sat in a straight row with one independent voter between them. Dan Alderfer said, “The only thing we battle about is the candy on the tables.”

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