By Payton Comunale, Point Park News Service
A longtime observer at a polling place in Monroeville reported a high voter turnout today for midterm elections, and it appears that immigration was a major influencing factor for some of them.
At Cleveland Stewart Elementary — a school within the Gateway School District that falls within Monroeville’s Ward 1 District 3 — voters at 9:30 a.m. came from a similar range in age but presented a range of political views.
Carol Hoffner, a custodian at the elementary school, said when the building opened “there were at least 20 people waiting to be let inside.” She reported never having seen this many people come to her building to vote in the last 25 years of working there.
Although people in the small lobby of the school did not share much chatter among one another, there were two men on either side of the double-door entryway who handed out fliers for Steve Schlauch and Brandon Markosek, opposing candidates for the 25th District state representative.
Although a surge in registered young voters for this midterm election was predicted, the older population outnumbered the number of young ones at this particular location this morning.
The older people who showed up simply wanted to vote and go on with their day, said 59-year-old Jeanne Sprowls of Monroeville. The Sarah Care Hospice worker came out to vote because she believes “too many people are lackadaisical and then moan about results. [I do] not want to be one of those people.”
The issue that really motivated several Monroeville residents to make the journey to the polls was immigration. Thirty-four-year-old, Jason Wooten of Monroeville, who began voting just this election due to his new union job, said he was “okay with allowing immigrants in as long as there is a better process” put into place.
However, 56-year old Hoffner, who also lives in Monroeville, believes that in America, “It’s all about taking care of our own first.”
She agrees with President Donald Trump’s move to stop immigration efforts coming from Latin America. She believes “he is very much in [my] ballpark of ideas. He is president whether people like him or not, and he deserves respect.”
Others at the Cleveland Stewart location said that they hated Trump and all that he stands for. His methods do not make sense to people like Sprowls who has “both parents that are first generation in the United States.”
“Most families in this country have immigrant roots,” she said.
Residents like Mary Stanutz, 64, of Monroeville are also “terrified” by Trump’s “nonsensical course of action.” The retiree said, “The problem is that Republican voters don’t like non-white immigrants. It’s a racist thing.”