My Corner, Your Corner: Voting is a right — exercise it

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio | November 5th, 2015 12:01 pm

Physical exercise is something that many moan and groan over. It takes effort to go to the gym or track or even a tennis court to stay or get fit. There is a different type of exercise that people do seem to do – exercising the right to vote.

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, the general election was held and approximately 28 percent of voters got out to the polls in Luzerne County. Folks, that’s not good.

Luzerne County has 190,659 registered voters, according to the Luzerne County elections website. That means only 53,289 people exercised their right to vote.

In my opinion, there has been a slide in voter turnout ever since electronic voting was introduced. I really believe elderly folks who are electronically challenged might be fearful of voting. Other than that, I have no clue why millions of people will vote for contestants on talent shows like “America’s Got Talent,” “The Voice” or “Dancing with the Stars,” and yet won’t show up when it comes time to elect people to run our towns, state, and country.

Is the real answer in getting people to vote by letting them phone, text, or email in their choices? That might make things a lot easier, but would that voting percentage rise? I would hope so, but until that kind of technology is available, citizens will have to physically get up, drive to a polling place and touch a screen to have their voices heard.

I worked at my district’s polling place for about 18 years. I can honestly say I loved it. My district had approximately 800 voters at the time. Back in the day, you had to go into the machine that looked like it was built in the 1940s, close the curtain behind you and proceed to push levers for the candidates of your choice.

I remember the curtains went from the top of the machine to the floor, and then in later years, the curtain was cut down by a third so you would see a bunch of legs and shoes. I think the idea of the full-length curtain was to ensure your vote was secret.

It was great to see people from the surrounding neighborhoods twice a year during election time. As one of the Inspector of Elections, I had to hand out a computer card with the voter’s name to be signed by the voter. After a few years of doing the job, I got to memorize a lot of faces and names. When a voter came in, I would have their card out and ready for them to sign.

It was always sad when someone would pass away between elections.

When you voted, you would never tell anyone which candidate you chose. That was personal, and even to this day, many people will not divulge their choice.

Voting used to be a right that you exercised as an American. It was a right that older generations never took for granted.

This election was one where state judges as well as district magistrates, county district attorney, county council members, borough and town officials, and school board members were running for office. Personally, I think all of these positions are extremely important in governing our everyday lives.

I’m not sure why we, as a society, are so apathetic when it comes time to vote. Next year we will elect a new president of the United States. So until the techies come up with a way to vote by phone or computer, you will have to get out of the easy chair and do the right thing — vote.

We’re very lucky to live in a country where we can do just that.

Tom Tigue dedication

This coming Wednesday, Veterans Day, Pittston Area will honor former state Rep. Tom Tigue by dedicating a flagpole at the Primary Center in Hughestown at 2 p.m. The ceremony is open to the public.

How fitting is it for a flagpole that proudly displays our country’s flag honor a man like Tom?

Tom’s life has always been one of serving others. He is a former Marine who served in Vietnam, where he earned a Silver Star. He served 27 years in the Marine Corps Reserve and also served on the Pittston Area School Board. In addition to all that, he served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 118th district from January 1981 until November 2006.

The 1964 graduate of St. John’s High School was inducted into the state Department of Military and Veterans Affair Hall of Fame in 2007.

Quote of the week

“If there is a sense of reality, there must be a sense of possibility.” – Robert Musil, Austrian-German novelist.

Thought of the week

“The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Eden Phillpotts, English sci-fi writer.

Bumper sticker

“Lord, let me live until I die.” – Will Rogers, American entertainer.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at