Polls for general election close in North Central

Students and residents voted for presidential candidates in person while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Residents, organizers and poll workers stand outside of the polling location at Tanner G. Duckrey School on Nov. 3. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Polls in North Central closed at 8 p.m. today with no lines as Pennsylvania finalized its in-person voting period for the 2020 general election.

Lines of voters at polling locations near Temple University’s Main Campus were longer this morning but shortened by the afternoon and evening. 

Catherine Ratchford, a freshman psychology major, was stressed about whether she would be able to vote due to being a Connecticut resident prior to visiting Bright House Baptist Church on 12th Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

“I didn’t know until I actually finished voting that I was going to be able to vote,” Ratchford said.

In addition to the polls closing, voters who received mail-in ballots could deliver them to a satellite election office or a ballot drop box until 8 p.m., The Temple News reported.

Polling locations across the city adhered to COVID-19 protocols, like social distancing, mask-wearing, providing hand sanitizer at every voting station and providing gloves to every voter, Billy Penn reported

Pennsylvania counties were allowed to begin processing mail-in ballots this morning, but some counties will not start processing them until tomorrow, the Washington Post reported

A sign about COVID-19 safety measures hangs outside of the polling location at George G. Mead School on Nov. 3. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Terry Starks, the Republican Party’s 20th Ward leader who lives on 8th Street near Susquehanna Avenue, voted for President Donald Trump in person today because he didn’t trust that his vote would be counted by mail, he said. 

“We see more work get done with him than any other president that ever was in office,” Starks said, standing outside of Bright Hope Baptist Church.

With its 20 Electoral College votes, Pennsylvania could be a deciding factor in the presidential race. If former Vice President Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania, which voted for Trump in 2016, it would greatly narrow Trump’s path to victory, 6ABC reported

Both candidates campaigned in Pennsylvania in the week leading up to Election Day. 

Biden visited Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center today on his way to Northwest Pennsylvania, Billy Penn reported

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) held a campaign event targeted at Latino voters in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and later a campaign event with Mayor Jim Kenney outside of Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia on Monday, 6ABC reported

Trump held four rallies in Pennsylvania on Saturday in Newtown, Reading, Butler and Montoursville, while Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on Monday, the New York Times reported

Terry Starks, the Republican Party’s 20th Ward leader, stands outside of the polling location at Bright Hope Baptist Church on Nov. 3. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Taiquan Jones, a self-employed business owner who lives on Bouvier Street near Oxford, didn’t like either candidate running for president but voted today at the General George G. Meade School on 18th Street near Oxford.

“It’s like if your parents offer you two things that you don’t like to eat, but you gotta eat one to make it to the next meal,” Jones said. “You’re going to go with what’s right for the country, but when they put those options on the table, you ain’t got no other choice.”

Payton McGee, a sophomore art therapy major, and Hannah Jablonski, a junior media studies and production major, went together to the wrong polling location this morning before voting at Norris Homes on 11th Street near Berks, they said. 

“Everybody was distanced from me, and I put on gloves to vote and everything,” McGee said. “They were very helpful with showing me how to do it, but they were also keeping their distance.”

Residents dance outside of the polling location at Tanner G. Duckrey School on Nov. 3. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

As of the June 2 primary election, all Pennsylvania counties received new voting systems that produce voter-verifiable paper records and fit security, auditability and accessibility standards, according to Votes PA.

James Howard, a machine operator, and Julia Howard, a stay-at-home mother, who live on Jefferson Street near Broad felt the voting process was quick and easy with the new voting system, they said.

“It was all digital, so it wasn’t, you know, a lever or anything like that,” Julia Howard said. “I think this way is more efficient. You get to see the results before you’re actually able to vote, so even if you changed your mind and didn’t want to vote, you could’ve ripped it up and kept moving.”

Deborah Taylor, who lives on Gratz Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue, voted in person because she didn’t trust the mail-in system with her vote, she said. 

“I was determined to vote,” Taylor said. “I was going to vote because we want a better life. We don’t want to walk around here hating one another, fighting one another.”

Mail-in ballots don’t lead to widespread ballot fraud, experts say. The security measures put in place are designed to prevent ballot fraud and are liable to result in ballots being rejected for failing to adhere to the instructions, according to the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law.

Sam Weeden, a photographer who lives on Jefferson Street near 17th, worries there could be some unrest after the results of the election are revealed.

Residents stand outside of the polling location at Bright Hope Baptist Church on Nov. 3. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The deadline for mail-in ballots to be counted in Pennsylvania is Nov. 6, meaning that it could take a few days after Election Day to know the state’s election results, 6ABC reported. 

Cities across the country, including Philadelphia, are bracing for civil unrest following the announcement of the presidential election winner. Philadelphia Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the National Guard, which remain on standby at the Park West Town Plaza in Center City, are stationed in Philadelphia, NBC10 reported

“It’s gonna be tough going forward either way,” Weeden said. “It’s gonna take a lot to, kind of, rebuild this country and get everyone back together and make it good again. I’m hoping for the best and trying to do everything I can to be proactive.”

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