Poll workers deserve protections, people should be safe protesting

Written By August Stephens, Opinions Editor

The Pennsylvania General Election took place on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022 and was one of the most highly-contentious elections the state has ever had. Topics such as women’s and abortion rights, income taxes, and climate change initiatives are all on the political table. At the time of writing this piece, the election results are not available.


In the United States, we tend to have a divided approach on  how to handle politics. Personally, I was raised with the fact that there are three topics you never discuss at a dinner table: politics, religion, and income. As time went on, however, I became more curious. I wanted to learn about people’s battles with healthcare, different protections workers have depending on their career field, and the amount of respect, or lack thereof, someone has been given for following a non-organized religion. While being raised in multiple small, southwestern Pennsylvania towns, one idea remained the same, and it was that being conservative was always the more intelligent way of life. In high school, there was definitely an increase in sharing political beliefs, as climate change and Black Lives Matter rallies occurred , but that was really it. Despite changes, people’s ability to grow seemed to always hit a stopping point.


It is very disturbing to me that a lot of people do not understand the necessity for poll workers to be guaranteed safety. Poll workers volunteer their entire day in order to minimize corruption and maintain orderliness among complete strangers. My seventeen year-old sister worked the polls this Tuesday, and I cannot begin to describe the amount of anger I would experience if someone tried to hurt her because she was “representing an opposing side,” or whatever excuse they would use to defend themselves. There is no excuse to harass or belittle a poll worker. It is completely hypocritical to democracy as a concept to not let people work and express themselves freely in a government-sanctioned environment. 


Furthermore, how drastically the reactions of people will be affected in the outcome of this election. I would say that there should never be the concern of people having their rights taken away, but we are far past that point as an American population. 


From the left-leaning populace, there should be protests defending Roe vs. Wade, the LGBTQIA+ community, and equity for the Black Lives Matter and Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Hate movements, amongst others. For right-leaning populations, the protests could occur in regards to student-debt relief and the maintaining of a Democratic representative in the government which allows for a different voice in the already conservative-leaning state government Pennsylvania has in place. 


What is most concerning, is the treatment of peaceful protestors of numerous movements. Also, the conflicts which could occur as a result of unsettled bodies co-existing in one space, both arguments trying to win their place after the election results are released to the general public. 


Cover your tattoos. Hydrate. Stay off your phones. Stay in between, behind, or in front of people on bikes, they are only there to protect you. Lastly, be aware of the space you are occupying and the people who join you. Everyone deserves the right to protest- safely, pragmatically, and peacefully – without the concern of imprisonment or being actively harmed by government officials.