Our Opinion: Exercising our right to vote

There were long lines at the polls on Tuesday.

And, quite possibly, a swear word or two uttered under one’s breath.

But, let’s look at the bright side; for as many lines or even rumors or Facebook posts (sometimes one and the same) as we heard on Wednesday, there were… lines.

For a non-presidential election, 28 percent of the county cast a vote in Tuesday’s election.

A contested Warren County Commissioner race. Warren City Council. School Board. Boroughs. Townships. A crime victim’s rights amendment.

We voted.

There were reasons for the lines.

“Less machines to work with,” according to Director of Elections Lisa Rivett. And those machines were brand new.

Voters and poll workers alike were working with the machines under live conditions for the first time. The new equipment was not limited to the Image Cast X (ICX) touchscreen machines. There were also printers attached to each machine to provide the paper ballots required under the new state rules. Poll workers could not give all of their attention to the touchscreens. There were also problems and unfamiliar situations with printers.

“A lot of the precincts were getting low of paper,” Rivett said.

There were apologies made to patient and impatient voters.

But a lot of credit and thanks needs to be given.

“Now, I’d like to apologize to everyone who had an issue with the voting machines and either waited forever or didn’t vote at all,” Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday night.

Eggleston noted that he challenged Gov. Tom Wolf’s mandate to implement new machines with a paper trail “and I think that had an effect on the number of machines we had today and how they were implemented. I am just one Commissioner, but I should have looked into this harder. That’s on me.”

While he acknowledged the frustration, he credited the work of Rivett in this process.

“She’s done a great job with what she had to work with,” he said. “She has fought through some major challenges and deserves respect, especially since her hands were tied on a number of issues.”

It will only get better. Eggleston was re-elected Tuesday and has promised to make sure of that. All involved will.

Patient or inpatient, one person — one voter — said it best.

“I waited an hour and a half to vote.”

“Yes, I waited.”

With Veteran’s Day Monday, she didn’t have to remind us of why she waited.

“It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.”

— Winston Churchill



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