By Meghan Zaffuta, Point Park News Service
Polls at the South Side Presbyterian Church, located at Sarah Street and South 20th Street, were slow between 3 and 4 p.m. Poll workers and campaigners reported long lines this morning and predicted long lines after people get off work as people vote today in the midterm election.
The historic increase of voter registration in young people prior to the midterm elections was seen by poll workers. Sixty- year-old Della Binion, a retired high school teacher from the South Side, was impressed by the number of first-time voters.
“There were a lot of people asking “where do I go?” and “what do I do?’” she said. As a former teacher who helped get high school seniors registered to vote, Binion was very happy with the turnout of young people. ”It’s just a great civic activity,” she said.
A campaigner for the Democratic National Committee and a South Side resident, Kirk Smarsh, 55, arrived at the polling station at around 6:45 this morning. He said the line wrapped around the corner of the church and onto Sarah Street. Smarsh, who has been campaigning for candidates since the 1980s, said that this has been the second biggest election turnout he’s ever seen, with the 2008 presidential election being first.
However, Smarsh described this election as being “weak” because of the contents of the ballot. With two of the five candidates, state Rep. Harry Readshaw and Mike Doyle, running unopposed, Smarsh believes that the 2020 election is more important. “There will be more elections that hit home for people [in 2020],” he said.
Unlike Smarsh, Lauren McElroy, a 33-year-old teacher from the South Side, thought that this election was just as important, if not more important than other elections. “I vote every time, but obviously this time it’s different,” she said. McElroy’s disapproval with the current political climate and rhetoric she associates with the Trump Administration, as well as gun violence, immigration, military spending, health care and education were all driving forces behind her choice of candidates.