Committee leaders weigh in on election
Democratic and Republican committees in Butler County both focused on reaching voters during the midterm election, with access and awareness being the primary goal.
On the line was the selection of a governor, as well as a United States senator to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey.
Bill Halle, president of the Butler County Republican Committee, said Tuesday the committee attempted to register more voters in the run up to Election Day. He said he was at a polling place throughout the day, and the registration push seemed to have made a difference.
“Throughout the season, there has been an effort to register voters,” Halle said. “I think you'll see an increase in the number of voters this year. It has been a very busy day. I am expecting a high turnout for this election.”
Butler County historically has seen a majority of registered Republican voters, but Catherine Lalonde, chairwoman of the Butler County Democratic Committee, said Tuesday that the committee has been focusing on being more visible.
“We have built up our presence of our committee, and letting Democrats know there are other Democrats in the area,” Lalonde said.
Lalonde said voter turnout would be healthy this election, meaning that all the votes throughout the state might not be counted by the end of the day Tuesday.
“I'm pretty sure we won't know for a few days yet, because I assume it'll be close with some of the races,” Lalonde said. “I prefer just to wait and see what happens when all the counting is done.”
Halle said that with the additional voter turnout, he expected that votes for Republican candidates throughout Butler County would see an increase as well.
“We're expecting our county to carry, as we usually do,” he said of the Republican votership. “We're hoping that the margin of victory is going to be greater, percentage-wise, than usual.”
Lalonde said she expected there to be a number of mail-in votes this cycle, and the Democratic committee was working to ensure that all who voted by mail had their ballots counted.
“Yesterday we did get a list of people whose ballots had a problem,” she said, “no signature, no date, so our committee called them to notify them to help cure their ballots.”
The results of the races, especially the election for governor and Senate, could show changing voter opinions across Pennsylvania.
Lalonde said voters likely are selecting a candidate who best represents their values, but whoever wins an election represents everyone in their district.
“You can't tell by who’s registered who the vote is going to go (to); it depends on who is going to show up to vote,” Lalonde said. “Elected people are supposed to represent all people in their constituency, not just the people who voted for them.”
Halle said Pennsylvanians may be looking for candidates who are not as established as politicians, and the midterms could show changing voter values.
“A common theme is there is an effort to bring control back to the local people,” Halle said. “I think you'll see a move away from establishment-style candidates.”