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The Impact of Social Issues Encourage Voters In Pittsburgh

By Hayley Keys, Point Park News Service

People were lined up waiting at the Epiphany Catholic Church as the morning sun streamed through the windows. Everyone was quiet, and the atmosphere was calming. The small crowd seemed excited to cast their votes, and some even wore shirts saying “the time to vote is now” in big white letters.

Kenton Patterson is a 52-year-old poll worker from Pittsburgh who is at the church every year on Election Day.

He said “over 200 people usually turn out,” and he is hopeful to see more people this year. Patterson was particularly excited to see younger people voting in the midterm and he claimed that the colleges in the area help bring in the extra votes.

Most college students are registered as Democrats including 21-year-old Farrah Younes, who goes to Duquesne University. She said that “as of late gun control probably influenced my vote more than other issues,” which is a rising trend in students.”

But it’s not just the students who are worried about violence. The recent tragedy in Squirrel Hill has many people flocking to the polls in order to make their voice heard.

“I just don’t like the direction our country is going in,” claimed one 53-year-old Pittsburgh native. “I mean we’re in Pittsburgh and we just had a horrible incident a week ago and there is a lot of hate and I’m Jewish and so the hate is directed at me and at immigrants, and that’s not American.”

Daniel Wood, a 30-year-old Pittsburgh citizen, said it’s the issues today that encourage voters to turn out.

“The recent political climate has helped me to vote in the midterms more than usual,” Wood said.

Wood even called President Donald Trump the number one factor for his voting, and he wasn’t the first one. Frustration with the president caused many people, young and older, to vote when they usually wouldn’t.

With the variety shown in voters this year, voter turnout is more important than ever. Make sure to head to your local poll and exercise your right to vote. Visit https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/PollingPlaceInfo.aspx to find a polling place near you.

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