Strong feelings on both sides bring out many local voters

Whether local voters were riding the blue wave or standing firm with the GOP, it was clear that President Donald Trump was a driving factor on both sides of the aisle Tuesday.

At the Pointe in Oil City, a group of women went to the polls together Tuesday morning, although they weren’t all in the same camp.

Margaret Hartle said she had spent most of her life not voting, right up until the last presidential election.

“I knew who I wanted in there, and I think he’s doing a good job,” Hartle said.

One of her friends booed her comment.

“I think we need a change,” Diane McLaughlan said.

Hiromi Knox arrived with her daughter, who also voted.

“This is a very big day, and we all have to do our duty,” Knox said. “Go blue.”

Jason Dillion said he would be voting straight Democrat this year.

“I’m tired of the racist politics, and I don’t believe that either party should control everything,” he said.

Several people declined to share their political leaning but said that they vote in every election, believing it to be their civic duty.

“I vote in every election,” a man who wished to remain anonymous said. “If they had an election for dog catcher, I’d vote. I was taught in high school that this is a civic responsibility.”

Miriam Storch, arriving to vote at the Seneca Volunteer Fire Department, said the main issue on her mind is the economy.

“It’s a good economy, and I want to keep it that way,” she said. “Also, borders.”

James and Cheryl Ames said voting in every election is their family tradition.

“I think we need change – local change,” James Ames said.

Frank Shepard, a law professor at Clarion University, said he has never missed an election in his life.

“I think we need to move away from the dark and vote against Trump,” Shepard said.

At the polling place at Second Presbyterian Church in Oil City, Alita Turner said she felt compelled to do what she didn’t do in the last presidential election.

“I didn’t vote in the last one, so I kind of felt guilty,” she said. “I’m just here doing what I have the right to do.”

Janet Carpenter said real change happens when people remember to vote in every election.

“We’ve got to change something,” Carpenter said. “We can’t be complacent anymore.”

At Franklin First Baptist, the voters were particularly vocal about their choices.

“I’m scared to death of our president,” a woman who asked to remain anonymous said. “He’s too much of a supremacist. He’s too divisive.”

Bill Lisseveld was committed to keeping America on what he sees as the right track.

“I don’t want anything to affect what Trump’s got going,” he said. “We’re getting America back on the right road with American values.”

His wife, Shannon Penland, expressed a similar view.

“There are a lot of people unemployed.” Penland said. “I don’t think high taxes ever worked. I’m a registered independent, but I don’t like the rhetoric that if you disagree with the Democratic party, you’re a racist.”

Courtney Lake didn’t mince words.

“I like living,” she said, adding some colorful language directed at Trump.