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A Quiet Firehouse Turned Polling Station

By Megan McKenzie, Point Park News Service

On a rainy Election Day morning at 9 o’clock, voter turnout at the No. 4 Engine House on 1324 Forbes Ave. in Pittsburgh was shockingly scarce.

This year’s midterm election is estimated to have one of the highest voter turnouts for those under 35 years old in Pennsylvania’s history. Observations at this polling place did not support this expectation. Of the few who hurried in and out of the voting place, nearly all were middle-aged or older.

Of those who turned up this morning to vote, many moved quickly to avoid being late for work. Aside from the roar of the fire trucks leaving and entering, the parking lot was quiet.

One could have walked past the No. 4 Engine House without realizing its purpose on Election Day. No one stood outside this polling station to support his or her preferred candidates, nor were there signs on the lawn promoting political candidates.

Despite the somber setting, passions were revealed from voters when prompted to share their opinion. Tonya Payna, 54, a registered Democrat, works as a safety manager in her hometown of Pittsburgh. “I want to get rid of Trump,” she said immediately when asked why she chose to vote today. “I think he should have no power altogether.”

Her mother, Louise Payna, 76, also a registered Democrat, echoed similar sentiments about the current president. When asked about health care, Louise Payna said that she believes “we should have free health care for all.” She continued, “Why should we have to pay for Congress and not for us? We need it.”

Charlene Tomson, 52, a registered Democrat, is a crossing guard in her hometown of Pittsburgh. She said that “the inequality in this country” influenced her vote today. Like other voters this morning, she disapproved of Trump’s decisions as president.

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