HONESDALE—As the time to take to the polls draws nearer, the Wayne County Election Bureau took a moment last Thursday, October 12, to induct eight new citizens into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame.
Honored on Thursday were Clayton Crum, Marie A. Drobnicki, Helen Estus, Donald E. Guida, Sally Hawley, Jean Marie Matoushek, Susan M. Springer and Louis R. Welch, each for voting in elections for 50 consecutive years.
Springer and Welch were unable to make it to the ceremony.
For their commitment, each inductee received a citation signed by Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes.
Bureau of Elections Office Director Cindy Furman congratulated the inductees stating, “Thank you for representing the county and the state, and setting an example … To show that there are people who go out to vote no matter what, it's the strength of the nation.”
Board of Elections member Brian Smith stated, “I'm concerned every once in a while that people lose interest, but then my confidence is re-instilled in groups like you who have done it for so long.”
Smith encouraged those present to teach their children the significance of voting as the duty of each citizen and its prominence to the outcome of elections, especially at the state and local levels.
“This is something that is your right. It represents your freedom to try to pick your leaders by voting and casting your vote,” he said.
“I know it's not always simple,” he added. “We all have lives, all of our lives are very complicated and it's very easy to come up with an excuse why not to go to the polls … but you've gone every time.”
Board of Elections Chairman Wendell Kay thanked Furman for her efforts in facilitating the annual inductions into the Voter Hall of Fame, invoking the scarcity of voter turn out.
“We will have our highest voter turnout during presidential years,” he stated.
“In 2016, the voter turnout number in the United States of America, the leading democracy in the history of the world, was less than 60 percent …
“You folks, on the other hand, for the last 50 years, have had a 100 percent turnout.”
Kay bade the inductees take some pride in their accomplishment “we look at all of you as a wonderful example of how things ought to be done.”
Attesting to the power of voting as both a right of every citizen and their responsibility to utilize effectively, Board of Elections member Joseph Adams stated, “Thank you for participating in your right to vote, but also, and more importantly, thank you for being responsible and taking it seriously … That's what makes our democracy the valuable commodity that it is.”
Also present to honor the inductees were Andrew Seder, representing Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), Gina Ehrhardt, from Representative Mike Peifer's Office (R-139), and Karyn Kazinski from Representative Jon Fritz' Office (R-111).
Speaking on behalf of all the representatives, Seder congratulated the inductees, stating, “For the six of you here that have done it for the past 50 years religiously, I think that's a testament to what you think about our democracy and the importance that voting has in it.”
The physical registry of the Voter Hall of Fame resides in the state capitol. Visitors can peruse the names of committed voters past and present.