A day at the polls in the more rural Upper Bucks communities is often a bit of a gabfest for voters who don’t see each other as often as those in more heavily populated areas. They often stand around in groups and chat.
Not so this time when political divisiveness continues to separate neighbors. Nevertheless, most candidates and poll workers agreed that voters were coming out and the pace was steady even before mid-morning.
One outstanding exception to the political division is the extraordinary new alliance between the Upper Bucks Republican powerhouse and the growing Palisades Democratic Association who joined hands to support Republicans Karen Beerer and Saul Ramos. The two are competing with Kathleen Gentner for the two Region 2 seats on the Palisades School Board.
Reporting early irregularities to the Bucks County Board of Elections were polling places in Nockamixon Township and Riegelsville Borough, both in Palisades School Board’s Region 2.
At Nockamixon, Bucks County Constable Lance Fisher was ordered by the board of elections to remove some of Gentner’s signs, which had been placed illegally at street and school entrances, defying school policy.
Gentner had refused to remove them unless she saw something in writing, poll workers said.
In Riegelsville Borough, Joanne Allen, a member of the Palisades Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization which has raised millions for the district over the years, had set up a table supporting Beerer and Ramos.
Republican committeeman Milo Morse insisted the foundation sign be removed. He said such a display was prohibited by “the tax code.” Allen removed the foundation sign but continued her individual support of the candidates.
Also expressing her personal position at the polls at Riegelsville Public Library was Patti Skow who asked voters to vote for two seats. She was reacting to a scheme by Gentner asking voters to vote only for her, thus winning her one vote but also suppressing votes for the other candidates. Gentner had done the same during the May primary and has based a mail plea for “one vote only” at the same time attacking an individual teacher about a class assignment.
Tom Cochrane of Just Concerned Citizens, a political action committee based in Springfield Township that supports Gentner, was also asking Nockamixon residents as they approached the polling place to vote only for Gentner.
Asking for a single vote where more than one seat is involved is called bullet voting. Although not illegal, it is considered unethical.
Plumstead’s Region 1, where Central Bucks School Board candidates vied for attention under their red and blue tents at the Plumsteadville Fire Co., drew 88 voters before 9 a.m. One of the poll workers who asked not to be identified said early in the day, “It looks like it’s tipping toward the Republicans.”
At Deep Run East Mennonite Church in Bedminster Township where the Democratic Pennridge Community Alliance candidates are opposing the GOP’s Protect Pennridge 2023 candidates, more than 120 voters had been counted, according to Brenda Hall, who was serving her first time as judge of elections. “It is absolutely exciting to be doing this,” she said.