Vying for the Vote -Community members share why voting in local elections is important

By Marisa Balanda

Only 13.1% of eligible Derry Township voters voted in the Derry Township primary election on May 19th, 2015.

Derry Township municipal elections were held on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015, and many politically active community members explained why they thought that voting in local elections is important.

Pennsylvania State Representative John Payne visited the Cocoa Beanery, which is the 10th voting precinct, in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning November 3rd. Payne said, “The reason I think elections are important is that’s really what our country was founded on; it’s what our forefathers fought for; that’s what my father fought for…” Representative Payne mentioned that he was planning to visit all of the precincts on election day.

Katie Malpezzi, a 2006 HHS graduate, campaigns for Tim DeFour for Country Controller outside of the Cocoa Beanery (10th precinct) in Hershey, PA on election day, Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015. Malpezzi believes that the decision that affect the daily lives of citizens are made at the local level. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Norman-Kehe)
Katie Malpezzi, a 2006 HHS graduate, campaigns for Tim DeFour for Country Controller outside of the Cocoa Beanery (10th precinct) in Hershey, PA on election day, Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015. Malpezzi believes that the decision that affect the daily lives of citizens are made at the local level. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Norman-Kehe)

Katie Malpezzi is a 2006 Hershey High School graduate. She was campaigning for Tim DeFour for Country Controller at the Cocoa Beanery on election day.  Malpezzi believes that many people wrongly assume that local elections aren’t important. “They [local officials] affect our daily lives most directly,” Malpezzi said.

Dan Shapiro campaigned for Susan Cort for Supervisor at the Cocoa Beanery on election day. Shapiro said, “The local elections sculpt the community…” Shapiro emphasized that many community decisions are determined by local elected officials.

John Dunn has been the campaign manager for Democratic Supervisor candidate Sandy Ballard for the past three elections. Dunn has resided in Hershey for 37 years. He explained that Democrats make up 32% of the voting population of Hershey. Independents compose 17% of the Hershey voting population and Republicans hold the majority with 51% of the voting population of Hershey. He explained that it is a challenge for the minority party to hold positions. However, he reiterated the need for people to vote in local elections. “These [local officials] are the people that are making decisions about the quality of life,” Dunn said.

Hershey High School has a strong demographic of politically involved students who helped at the polls on election day. HHS junior Samina Singh, is a dedicated member of the Young Democrats club. She spent election day campaigning for Democratic Supervisor candidate Sandy Ballard at the Cocoa Beanery and making phone calls to Hershey voters on behalf of Ballard. “They [local officials] conduct everything on a local level which affects us locally,” Singh said.

HHS Young Democrats member junior Eric Krieger makes a phone call to a local registered voter on behalf of Sandy Ballard’s Supervisor campaign on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 outside of the Ballard campaign headquarters in Hershey, PA. 15 HHS Young Democrats members spent election day campaigning for Ballard at the polls and making phone calls in support of her campaign.
HHS Young Democrats member junior Eric Krieger makes a phone call to a local registered voter on behalf of Sandy Ballard’s Supervisor campaign on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 outside of the Ballard campaign headquarters in Hershey, PA. 15 HHS Young Democrats members spent election day campaigning for Ballard at the polls and making phone calls in support of her campaign.

Senior Rachel Hoover is an active member of the HHS Young Republicans club. Hoover campaigned for the Republican candidates at the Cocoa Beanery on election day. “People think the presidential election is what matters most, but in the big scheme of things, it’s people at the local level.”

Even though the majority of Derry Township residents do not vote in local elections, many local political advocates are doing what they can to endorse local campaigns. Hoover said, “It’s important to utilize your right to have a say.”