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Beer and Shoving on the Campaign Trail

While it's been a mostly pleasant day at the polls, there have been a few "incidents" being run through the rumor mill.

Before I get to the thrilling tales of possibly drunk candidates being ejected from polling sites and already-elected officials getting into shoving matches with voters, I owe my readers an apology.

I completely dropped the ball on the special election in the 1st District (or Ward, depending on who you talk to. More about that later.) to replace retiring council member Mila Hayes, who stepped down in the beginning of the year.

I was reading it as a standard primary race on my spreadsheet, but Republican Russell C. Morello, Jr. and Democrat Mary M. DeSouza are actually battling for the seat. It's the one race everyone can vote in regardless of party affiliation and I neglected to accurately reflect that in my coverage.

I didn't realize my mistake until I showed up at and talked to both camps about it. Thankfully, Norristown Patch reader Kelly Devine saw my mistake and corrected me in the reader comments. I can't stress enough how helpful that is folks. I'm not infallible and if I miss something or get it wrong I want you to call me on it. It's the only way I'll learn.

In any case, it's been both fun and instructive at the polls today. Turnout has been light given that it's a primary, the weather's been dodgy and most of the races aren't hotly contested. A numbers talk with some of the poll workers puts the unofficial estimate at about a 10-15% turnout of eligible voters. The good news is that results should be easy to tally. The bad news is that we're clearly not very engaged as citizens. Anyone with any suggestions on how to change that can add them to the "Comments" section at the bottom of the page. I'm all ears.

Another silver lining is that the short voting lines gave me an opportunity to connect with voters and candidates alike in a very relaxed atmosphere. I got to meet some new faces, reconnect with old friends and hear a lot of rumors about misbehavior at the polls.

Stories of one school board candidate being ejected from a polling place (and rumored to smell of alcohol) and another already-elected official getting into a shoving match with a voter were being shared at several of the polling places I visited. No one would go on the record and I wasn't inclined to press the matter, but a quick check of tomorrow's police reports may clear things up. In any case, these are mere rumors and may not hold a shred of truth. I'm sure "truth will out," as they say.

Other than those minor incidents, the primaries seem to be going smoothly. No reports of malfunctioning machines, vote tampering, voter intimidation or even cutting in line. It's been a banner day at the polls.

I'll continue to check in and report as the day winds down, and I'll be reporting the results as soon as they're available. I'll also keep tweeting updates, so if you're not already following me on Twitter, now's a good time to start. Just search for NorristownPatch and click the link to follow me.

If you're a registered Democrat or Republican and haven't voted yet, you have until 8 p.m. Get out there and exercise your right. If you're out at the polls and see a problem you think folks should know about, give me a call at 610-308-9881 or tweet me @NorristownPatch.

Happy voting.

Francine Graglia June 29, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Trevor, Get the residents together who are of like mind and attend the council meetings and speak up. Start getting candidates together for the next election who can really make changes and help Norristown grow. Although I commend you on speaking your mind on these boards it is falling on deaf ears. The people you need to reach are not reading these boards.
Tim Armstrong is a DICK June 29, 2011 at 05:09 PM
The message boards are good for getting an idea about what the community is thinking. also for getting feedback on my thoughts because I'm not always right - (healthy debate) I find that e-mails to council members seem to be an effective way to communicate - they seem to respond pretty quickly to them.
Tim Armstrong is a DICK June 29, 2011 at 05:14 PM
I'm curious to know what you think Rich, about this article/editorial: http://norristown.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-marlon-millner-should-forfeit-his-seat-on-council I am fully in agreement that free speech and healthy debate are good, but it seems to me that Marlon may be guilty of ethics violations by breaching confidentiality and trying to force everyone to choose his candidate for the job.
BHarrison June 29, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Holy, molly. Thanks for sending the link. It seems that Marlon's going out into the community no only created a rift with regard to race but actually was a violation of ethics rules. Can he be removed by council for this? Or do we have to wait for him to resign?
CryinSam Says June 30, 2011 at 10:27 AM
Thanks for the link Trevor.

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