Titusville flocks to the polls, favors GOP - Titusville Herald: News

Titusville flocks to the polls, favors GOP

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Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 12:59 am

Editor’s note: All totals described below are unofficial.

Throughout the day, Tuesday, poll workers across Titusville and the surrounding area reported the highest voter turnouts in recent memory.

The voters spanned virtually all adult generations, with both young and old first-time voters reportedly coming into polling places to cast their first votes, or their first votes in a long time, according to poll workers.

“We did way better than we normally do,” reported Hydetown Mayor Marc Bavas, who was working the polls at the Hydetown Volunteer Fire Department.

Hydetown’s judge of elections, and a 15-year poll worker, Everett Sopher, added, “This is the biggest turnout I’ve seen.”

That was with more than four hours to go before the polls closed — the borough having already surpassed full-day vote totals for all of Sopher’s 15 years.

In Oil Creek Township, Crawford County, a poll worker noted, while helping a long line of voters in the township building, “We’re busy. Real busy.”

Parked vehicles overflowed the parking lot at the polling place, with several parked up and down McKinney Street.

Shortly before 4 p.m., the poll worker reported already being well above 50-percent turnout.

Outside of the township building, 31-year-old township resident Josh Smith said he was casting a vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson due to his displeasure with the country’s two leading parties.

“I’m here to show support for Gary Johnson,” he said. “I got tired of the two-party system, in general.”

Another township voter, 55-year-old Annie McCray, said she was voting primarily on the issues of the economy and “concern about student loans, and how we support education.”

At Titusville’s Alliance Church, judge of elections Lee Kafel, whom has worked at the polls for seven years, also reported high turnout.

“We’re way up,” she said. The only issues she found was from the high number of voters who hadn’t cast a vote in recent and hadn’t updated their registration information. Those voters were reportedly informed of which polling place they needed to vote.

“This is the largest turnout, based on percentage,” Kafel added.

Outside the Alliance Church, 82-year-old Willo Bauer and her granddaughter, 46-year-old Tina Rossman were preparing to vote.

Bauer said the most important factor affecting her decision was change.

“To see a change in America, for the better,” she said.

Rossman said soaring health care costs were her biggest motivator.

Across town, at the Billie Brown Building, judge of elections Pat Schneider said turnout was “fabulous,” as of 4:20 p.m.

“Everything has been running smoothly,” she said. “Everybody has been very cooperative, even when we’ve had lines.”

Schneider said that, when the polls opened at 7 a.m., 24 voters were already waiting in line.

She reported a lot of first-time voters — those coming in all different ages.

Poll worker Rose Nystrom said the electorate was “pleasant and upbeat.”

“It’s been great,” she said. “Very positive.”

At Henne Auditorium, on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, Republican Crawford County Commissioner Francis Weiderspahn was in the midst of a tour of precincts.

He reported high turnout throughout the county.

“I think it’s great that people took an interest in this election,” he said. “It’s important in every election.”

Weiderspahn reported “no issues,” at the polling places he had visited, adding “Every precinct I’ve been to said they’ve never seen a turnout like they did today.”

At the auditorium, first-time poll worker Jill Godlewski reported more than 300 votes cast as of 4:40 p.m.

Similarly, a few minutes later, poll workers at the Titusville Police Department reported 309 votes with three hours before the close of polls.

“It’s been smooth,” said poll worker Karen Kocan.

At First Presbyterian Church, where two city districts vote, it was more high turnout.

“It’s been a record in my 15 years as judge of elections,” said Sherry Stover. “It’s more than it was for either Obama elections.”

Typically the city’s lowest turnout precinct, first ward, first district, at an average of 25 percent, according to Stover, it ended the night with 64 percent of registered voters making their way to the polls.

In the other half of the room, at Titusville’s third ward, 60.5 percent turnout was also said to be high for the ward.

“We were at 70 by 1:15,” said poll worker Stacy Garfinkel. “The most we’ve had is 56 for a full day,” in her four years at the polls.

Titusville votes in high numbers, heavily favoring GOP

At city polling places, 73.8 percent of all registered voters made their way to the polls to cast their votes, overwhelmingly supporting all the Republican candidates, up and down the ballot.

For president, Republican Donald Trump garnered 61.5 percent of the vote total, with 1,237 votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 651.

For U.S. Senate, incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey pulled in 64.5 percent of the votes cast in that race, outpacing Democratic contender Katie McGinty’s 649 votes to his 1,180.

Titusville voters also heavily favored incumbent Republican Congressman Rep. Glenn Thompson. He was given 70.1 percent of the city’s votes cast in his race against challenger Democrat Kerith Strano-Taylor.

Additionally, Titusville favored incumbent Republican state Rep. Kathy Rapp over challenger Democrat Troy Clawson.

Rapp secured 66.3 percent of the votes cast in her race to represent the 65th Legislative District, which includes eastern Crawford County, as well as parts or all of Warren and Forest counties.

Sterling can be reached by email, at jsterling@titusvilleherald.com.

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