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Strip District Voters Stress Importance of Election

By Geoli Yeager, Point Park News Service

At about 3 o’clock the polling place at the EMS Training Center was quiet. Autumn leaves danced around the small concrete parking lot as the wind blew strongly. Many people came through going in and coming out 10 minutes later with “I Voted” stickers on their shirts.

Experts are predicting this midterm election to have the potential to be a turning point for the Democratic Party. They say turnout has been influenced by what Donald Trump has done as president.

The turnout in the Strip District may not have seemed like a lot, but there was a steady flow of people coming in and out of the polling place. Sondra Budge, 64, is a retired Pittsburgh resident who believes that voting is essential, even as an independent.

Budge believed that using your voice is important, “If we don’t vote we don’t have the right to complain.”

Mike Veon — a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Beaver County who served five years in prison on corruption charges before the State Supreme Court vacated his conviction in November 2016 — was working to support candidates at this polling place at mid-afternoon. At 61, he hasn’t missed an election since he was 18. Veon is currently working as a Democratic consultant.

Though Veon voted at 7:30 this morning and said he has been going from polling place to polling place ever since making a last-ditch effort to get people to vote Democrat. His goal is to help the blue wave all over the county.

In response to the Trump presidency, the group he is working with is using Trump’s words and his campaign of fear and division to motivate voters, he said. He believes that health care and immigration laws are also great motivators for the Democratic Party, and he is very hopeful for the turnout this year.

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