WARREN, Pa. – Many prognosticators have pegged Pennsylvania as the battleground state for the 2020 election, and Warren County residents wasted little time making sure their voices were heard Tuesday.
(Photo by Brian Hagberg. Voters wait in line to cast their ballot in the 2020 election at Holy Redeemer Center in Warren, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. One worker at the center said the turnout was the “biggest, by far” in six election cycles there.)
At the Holy Redeemer Center approximately 50 people were in line to cast their ballot at 6:30 a.m., according to Minority Inspector Lily Morse. The polls opened at 7 a.m.
“Turnout is huge,” Morse said. “This is my sixth election and this year (turnout) is the biggest, by far.”
Warren-East, Warren-North and Warren-Southeast precincts all vote at Holy Redeemer. At 9:30 a.m. the lines for North and East were fairly short, while the line for Southeast stretched to the bottom of the stairs at the farthest entrance.
“They (the line length) vary, but Southeast has been pretty long all morning,” Morse said.
(Photo by Andy Close. Voters wait in line to vote at the Sheffield Fire Hall, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Pollsters said “turnout was great” for the 2020 election.)
Douglas Hearn was vote No. 1 at the Warren County Courthouse Tuesday, and he said people were in line there before the polls opened as well.
“It was a personal goal to be first in line and first to vote,” Hearn said. “My early childhood memories are going into the voting booth with my dad or mum and seeing the curtain pulled closed. Mum or Dad always whispered to me how important voting is.”
Approximately 20 people were in line to vote at the courthouse when polls opened, Hearn said, and more were coming as he left.
“This election is so important on so many levels,” he said. “The people are speaking in record numbers all across our great nation. While there is much tension in our nation right now, I have a festive feeling and feel encouraged about our future.”
(Photo by Andy Close. Signs at the Warren-West precinct give instructions for following distancing guidelines while voting.)
Despite the lines, Morse said the process was running smoothly, even with COVID-19 mitigation efforts in place.
“People have been working with it (masks and distancing) well,” Morse said.
There were some issues with voting machines in the morning, but they were resolved quickly, according to Warren County Democratic Party Chairman Aaron Stearns.
“There’s been some slight issues with the machines,” Stearns said. “Generally they have them back up and running in no time. We’re just trying to make sure people know if there is a machine malfunction and they’re running out of time, they’re entitled to a paper ballot.”