Low turnout for voter registration drive does not deter organizers

September 08, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Hagerstown firefighter Geoff Placek waits Saturday morning for a Potomac Towers resident to assist with voter registration.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Turnout for a Saturday morning voter registration drive in Hagerstown might have been low, but organizers said that will not deter them from holding similar events in the coming months.

After all, every vote counts.

“We feel it’s our civic duty to get out in the community,” said Russell Daiello, one of the organizers.

Hagerstown Professional Firefighters Local 1605, which is an International Association of Fire Fighters chapter, decided to increase its focus on politics and voting this year, Daiello said.

While the group formed a political action committee and will support some Hagerstown City Council candidates, Daiello said the voter registration drive at Potomac Towers was not about partisanship or politics. Instead, participating volunteers focused on helping registrants with forms, he said.

IAFF 1605 volunteers underwent certification to assist with questions about forms. It was their first voter registration drive, but Daiello said it will not be their last.

“We plan on doing it elsewhere,” he said, saying planning is under way for Elizabeth Court and Walnut Towers.

A primary goal is to help people who might not be able to drive to other voter registration sites, Daiello said.

The handful of people who did register Saturday morning seemed to appreciate the volunteers’ efforts, he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, Washington County had 37,880 registered Republicans, 31,073 Democrats and 2,259 unaffiliated voters, according to Pamela Byrd, elections supervisor for the Washington County Board of Elections.

The City of Hagerstown had 6,715 Republicans, 9,167 Democrats and 4,009 unaffiliated voters, she said.

The election is Nov. 6.

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