Managing Editor WAYNE & PIKE -The Grand Old Party prevailed in Wayne and Pike counties, Pennsylvania in the Nov. 6th General Election, following their long-standing pattern. News of the re-election of President Obama, a Democrat, ran contrary to the hopes of the majority of local voters, where the Republican Party remains in the lead. Unfortunately the decision in both Wayne and Pike was left to only two-thirds to one-half of those who were signed up to vote. Democrats in both counties in this corner of the Keystone State, however, apparently came out in strong numbers and made their wishes known. The proportion of party members who crossed party lines in the privacy of the election booth is not recorded. Based on the number of votes cast (both at the polls and by absentee), turnout for the fall 2012 election was 66% in Wayne County and 55.3% in Pike County. This was less than in 2008, when Obama beat Republican contender John McCain. At that time, Wayne’s turnout was 71% and Pike County only slightly below the election just past, 55.6%. The precinct in Wayne County with the biggest poll turnout was Clinton Twp.-1, with 73.5%; the lowest was in Lehigh Township, 55.3%. Pike County’s precinct with the top poll turnout was Greene Township, 64.2%. The precinct with the least poll participation in the election was Lehman Twp.-1, 42.5%. Long voter lines were experienced at some polls in Pike County, which also occurred in the last Presidential race. Dingman-1, although using a new poll location- the Milford Bible Church, had a long line waiting at 8 p.m. when polls normally close. The last voter in line cast votes at about 9:25 p.m. Gary Orben Director of the Pike County Bureau of Elections, said that that lengthy lines were seen in Delaware, Lehman and Blooming Grove townships as well. Comments heard at Blooming Grove, however, indicated that breaking the line into two by alphabet helped at the poll, which was at the Pike County Senior Center. Orben said that the election workers at the courthouse were processing ballots until about 1:30 a.m. At Wayne County, a malfunction with one of the machines that scan paper ballots delayed processing. The last ballots were scanned just before 3 a.m. Obama was official declared the winner of the Presidential race nationwide at 11:25 p.m., although votes were still being counted. Poll workers in both counties indicated there was some confusion with the Voter ID Law, which thanks to a Court decision, allowed voters to vote if they did not show a picture ID. Cindy Furman, Director of the Wayne County Bureau of Elections, said that the picture ID will be required in 2013, although whether it would be the Primary or the General election, is not yet known. Across Wayne County, Romney took 59% of the vote (12,531) and Obama, 38% (8138). Green Party’s Jill Stein had 112 votes and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, 185 (both 1%). Obama did much better in Pike County. Romney had 54.8% of the Pike vote (12,713) and Obama 43.9% (10,170). Stein received 89 votes (.4%) and Johnson, 192 votes (.8%).
Philip Scollo, a resident of Dingman Township, Pike County ran for office for his first time, taking on Republican incumbent Thomas Marino for 10th US Congressional District. Marino won a second term, with 65.9% of the vote (168,024). Scollo achieved 34.1%, or 87,096 votes. With parts or all of 16 counties to win, Scollo did best in Monroe County, with 54.0% of the vote. He received only 42.0% in Pike, his home turf; in Wayne he took 34% and Lackawanna, 47.6%. He held an election night party at Settler’s Inn, Hawley. Peggy Murphy, who is Secretary of the Wayne County Democratic Committee, remarked that Scollo’s campaign was both “very brave” and “very strong of him.” Scollo had worked hard for former Democratic Congressman Chris Carney, and put together a committee to try and unseat Carney’s successor, Congressman Marino. “It’s not an easy thing to do,” she said. (A message left for Scollo for comment hasn’t been returned.) Another contested race was the PA 189th Legislative District. Elizabeth A Forrest, a Democrat, challenged Rep. Rosemary M. Brown who won a second term. Forrest received 44.5% of the vote (11,473); Brown was given 55.5% (14,284). The 189th covers portions of Monroe and Pike counties. Forrest is a Pike County resident.
Julias Litman, who chairs the Democratic Committee in Pike County, said he certainly was pleased with the national outcome but not so with the local results. He said he was especially unhappy that Rep. Marino received a second term. The long lines at polls, he stressed, needs to be resolved so that potential voters are not turned away. “We’ve spoken to the Board of Elections about this,” he said. Concerning Obama’s re-election, Litman commented that while working at the Delaware Twp.-1 poll, he heard several remarks from both Republicans and Democrats that this nation needs to learn to work together. Affirming that everyone was not satisfied with Obama’s first term, Litman noted that much of the blame has been put on the Republican leaders who acted as obstructionists. Granting Obama another term, he said, was to extend Obama’s tenure another four years with the hope that this time there will be more bipartisan support. Robert Goldsack, chairman of the Dingman Township Republican Committee, said he was “unbelievably surprised” at the national results, and that the balance of power came out basically the same. Based on the Republican victories in the mid-term election, he said it seemed logical that the Republicans should take the presidency. He said he now hopes that the Democratic Administration does not raise taxes in the beginning of the new year and lead us into a recession. Locally, Goldsack said he was very pleased. An estimated 2,000 more Republicans turned out at the polls in Pike County, and their Republican candidates for Congress and the 189th Legislative District won re-election. Milford Bible Church worked out well in Dingman-1 as a new polling place, Goldsack said, offering parking off the road and much-appreciated heat inside. He thanked the church for providing their facility. Still, he said he heard two complaints from voters in line who thought it was wrong to see what they saw as church and state mixing. The line at Dingman-1 was still very long, with a crowd at 8 p.m. requiring over an hour and a half more to let everyone vote. Goldsack said that he hoped the County would consider renting voting machines for the next presidential election in 2016, and adding poll workers to alleviate the long lines. He said with the economy, now would not be a good time to buy machines, but the County has four years to plan. Republicans and Democrats locally get along well together, Goldsack said, without any animosity seen in Dingman. He said it was a very pleasant time Tuesday as everyone came together to cast their votes.