About a dozen voters across Central Bucks County—a county often regarded as a bellwether for Pennsylvania—told us how they voted in the general election.
Clayton Johnson stood in a long line stretched outside Central Bucks High School South in Warrington, waiting to cast his very first vote Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m glad I’m able to vote because I feel like this is an important time to do it. This year’s been crazy,” 20-year-old Johnson said, reflecting on a year marked by the coronavirus pandemic and protests over police brutality.
Johnson said he feels former Vice President Joe Biden will take the coronavirus more seriously than President Donald Trump, who he thinks was too “lackadaisical” in his handling of the outbreak.
“He’s just acting like coronavirus is no big deal. He’s holding all these rallies without face masks. It’s like he doesn’t even care,” Johnson said.
Shannon C., of Doylestown, also took to the polls hoping a new presidency would lead to a better handling of the pandemic.
As a physician’s assistant working in the COVID unit of a hospital, which she declined to name, she said she experienced firsthand how ill-equipped the country was to respond to the coronavirus, especially with its shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
“There were too many people who didn’t take it seriously because Trump didn’t take it seriously. From the very start, this was completely mishandled,” said Shannon, who had contracted the disease herself back in April.
Nicholas Ferrara, of Doylestown, also voted with the pandemic in mind, wishing the government’s response had been more serious from the beginning.
“Going forward, what’s going to be best is someone who can take responsibility for the government’s role in dealing with the pandemic, someone who will take it seriously and make sure people are kept safe,” Ferrara said.
Jean Mollack, of New Britain, said she is worried about health care, and voted for Democrats.
“I’m hoping the Affordable Care Act is going to be saved and expanded to provide health care for more people,” Mollack said.
Robert Werner, of Warrington, had economic growth on his mind as he waited to vote, and hopes to see a working coronavirus vaccine become available soon, so people can get back to work and school. He said he also wanted to see a continued focus on strong immigration control.
“People that come into the country illegally are just a drain on society,” Werner said. “We need to pass the correct bills to enforce the rules that are in place right now. This country has been built forever on legal immigration.”
Eric Tomaselli, of Warrington, said he was voting to ensure good foreign policies and border security, and also wanted to support a president who cared about gun right protections.
“I want someone who will make sure our Second Amendment rights don’t get stomped on. I worry about bans on magazine capacity and having our AR-15s forcibly taken away,” Tomaselli said.
Joe Dougherty, of Warrington, also said immigration without documentation was an important concern, but as a retiree, he also worried about the current state of health care coverage and Social Security benefits.
“When I was working, I was paying $10 for my medication and now I’m paying $115. I’d like to see some changes and modifications to Obamacare to make it more affordable,” said Dougherty, who was voting all Republican.
Steve Lawson, of New Britain, said he voted for a third party candidate in 2016, but supported Trump this time in hoping he’d see continued growth in the economy.
“I reluctantly voted for Trump only because I like the way the economy is going. As much as you might hate the guy, the economy is really rolling along,” Lawson said.
He said he has also grown concerned over the Black Lives Matter movement and the idea of defunding the police.
“I think it’s getting out of hand,” Lawson said. “Defunding the police is the worst thing you can do.”
Concerns about police brutality were among the reasons first-time voter Jane Macaulay, of Warrington, planned to vote for Biden.
“I am in support of defunding the police. I’d like to see the police only handle violent crimes and the rest be reallocated to social services. That would lead to less mass incarceration and less racial profiling,” Macaulay said.
Standing with Macaulay, Alan Liu, of Warrington, said while he didn’t support defunding the police, he agreed in a reallocation of resources.
“I don’t think it’s fair for police to handle everything. I think there’s too much on their shoulders,” Liu said. “Whichever president gets elected, I hope this country keeps itself together, instead of tearing itself apart.”
Alexander Tomes, of New Britain, said he arrived at the polls with the lives of his Black and LGBTQ+ friends in mind.
“I feel it’s important to take care of the people who don’t have the same rights as me. Everyone should feel safe in this country,” Tomes said. “I strongly believe we need to get people in office who are going to make changes going forward to better our country.”
Rebecca Custer, of Doylestown Township, said if Biden becomes president, she hopes he will restore all the environmental regulations Trump’s administration had reversed during his term, saying the climate has to come first.
“If we don’t get that under control, then all the other issues won’t matter,” Custer said. “There’s still a lot of work to do if Biden and Harris win, but hopefully it’s a lot less chaotic than the last four years.”
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