Great Expectations invited participants to share their voting experiences yesterday.
Today is the most important election that Philadelphia has seen in years, and people are treating each other civilly. But as I think about it, I shouldn't really be surprised. . . . People are doing what people in the Next Great City should be doing: They are engaging each other in dialogue. They are listening to one another. They may not always agree, but that's OK, too. A democracy shouldn't always expect agreement. What it should expect is its citizenry engaging in dialogue with one another, however heated, while still respecting views they may disagree with. This civility has now reached the polling place. . . . Way to go Philadelphia!
The next ballot questions I want to see are these: Should the city require the formation of a city government agency whose sole purpose is to get people to the polls on election days? Should the city require a permanent budget line for guaranteeing that every polling place is sufficient to handle a 100-percent turnout? Should the city urge private and public employers to establish a paid holiday for Election Day, with the attendant incentives of any other holiday (like relaxed parking restrictions)?
Glenn D. Porter
Unlike Philadelphia, suburbia reacted with a yawn. When my wife and I arrived at 8:15 a.m. to vote - or cast a "blow for freedom" as my father used to say - only 12 of our neighbors had shown up. Even the party watchers were not there to hand out their lists of candidates.
The only issue of import on this ballot was the school tax initiative. My take is not many people understood it or knew about it. Sad, an important issue on the taxing authority by the township or the state, and few will show up to weigh in.
I arrived this morning at my polling place in West Mount Airy . . . facing a line of about 30 people ahead and (always) hoping for a heavy turnout. Unfortunately, our woeful standards of "heavy" tends to be over 50 percent. . . .
I was reminded of serving as an international election observer in South Africa in 1994 for the historic first democratic election in the post-apartheid era when Nelson Mandela was elected president. . . . My polling place is a far cry from many I visited near Johannesburg where thousands of first-time voters stood proudly in snakelike queues for up to 10 hours. I sensed an atmosphere of some change today while standing in a much smaller line talking with my neighbors . . . at the Lutheran Theological Seminary. After a turning tide in the most recent midterm congressional and state legislative elections, I am hopeful for a rising tide of idealism, civic engagement, reform and interest in public service. I am hopeful for confirmation that one person can make a difference, and, together, we can do that much more.