KID REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK
Pennsylvania is “Key” in the Presidential Election
Pennsylvanians turned out in large numbers on November 8 to cast their ballots for the next president of the United Sates. Voters at the polling places I visited reported standing in line for as long as 40 minutes for the chance to have their say.
During the weeks leading up to Election Day, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump made multiple campaign stops in the Keystone State. People in this battleground state realized the importance of their vote.
On the morning of Election Day, Brian Laubach of Mifflinville said that Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would be “the linchpin” in winning the White House.
At one polling site, Pennsylvania State Representative David Millard noted that “there has been a lot of attention” given to Pennsylvania by the candidates during this election cycle. There was a good reason for all of the attention. Pennsylvania has voted Democrat in every presidential election since 1988. But polling leading up to the election showed a very tight race, with Clinton having an advantage.
Many of Clinton’s supporters were confident of a win. Vince DeMelfi, the Columbia County Democratic Party Chair, told me that party activists were working hard on getting out the vote. “Our children’s future depends” on this election, he said.
Patrick McCloskey of the Bloomsburg University Campus Conservatives had a different take. “I think that Pennsylvania is going to go red for the first time in a while,” he said.
McCloskey turned out to be right. To the surprise of many pollsters and political experts, Trump won 49 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 48 percent. That narrow margin was enough to bring Trump’s electoral tally to 279, nine more than the 270 needed to win the presidency.
The voters with whom I spoke said that a variety of concerns had gotten them to the polls. Health care and “affordable education” were two big issues for Sandy Wright of Bloomsburg. Stefani Hart of Benton said that the environment and making “a better place for our children” were most important to her. According to Trevor Ahouse of Bloomsburg, “the country is in a deep economic hole.”
Many voters expressed concerns about what would happen after the election. No matter who wins, “it’s going to change our country,” noted Rick Scavone of Benton. “I’m concerned,” Helen Renn of Bloomsburg told me. “I feel that my country is split down the middle.”