On Tuesday, Nov. 7, West Chester joined many precincts, counties and states in the country for the 2017 elections. These included races for mayors, treasurers, wards and in some cases (outside of Pennsylvania), governors.
The results (locally and nationally) of these elections indicate a sweep of Democrat victories. In our own hometown, Dianne Herrin won the seat of mayor with 72 percent of the vote, defeating Republican candidate Tony Ciccarone who reached 27 percent of the vote. Democrats took every seat in the West Chester Borough which were up for election including Treasurer, won by Patricia Maisano, Controller, won by Margaret Reif, Clerk of Courts, won by Yolanda Van De Krol and Coroner, which was won by Chirstina Vanderpol.
A referendum suggesting the possibility of removing property tax for certain buildings, which would subsequently raise income and sales tax, failed to pass the vote.
“Thank you, West Chester voters! I am deeply grateful for your support and vote of confidence. I will put my passion for West Chester to work for each and every one of you,” said Mayor Herrin in an online post.
“Tuesday was an absolute shutout for the Democratic Party,” said Jake Rosenberg, secretary of the College Democrats, in a group email on Thursday. The College Republicans could not be reached for comment.
Despite West Chester’s recent decoration of political signs and advertisements, voting turnout was described as “worrisome” as only 31 percent of eligible voters came to vote in this election.
“This is the most millennials I’ve ever seen voting in this precinct for an off-season election,” said one volunteer at the Lawrence Dining Hall, going against the statistics and offering a streak of voting hope. “Something must have changed in the past year to get you guys out here, but I’m happy to see it. I guess I can’t complain about none of you voting anymore.”
The national election results had a similar theme to West Chester Borough, indicating a shift towards the Democratic party. Our own state neighbor New Jersey held a gubernatorial race to replace Chris Christie’s seat. Phil Murphy (D) won the race by a landslide, coinciding with Christie’s approval rating during the time of the election which consistently ranked below 20 percent. Virginia held a gubernatorial race as well, with Ralph Northam (D) taking the seat.
Virginia also held a landmark election as Danica Roem (D) made history, being the first openly transgender person elected into state legislature. She defeated 13-term Republican Bob Marshall, who had self-described as Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and modeled legislation on the bathroom bill from North Carolina.
Many political activists are claiming this is the first step towards a Democratic sweep in the 2018 elections, but as the dust settles on these elections, both Democrats and Republicans are calculating their move for next year.
All political organizations on West Chester University’s campus can be found via Orgsync.
Students can register to vote in Pennsylvania at www.pavoterservices.pa.gov. The midterm election will take place Nov. 6, 2018.
Max James is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in creative writing. He can be reached at MJ853459@wcupa.edu.