Community Kibbitz: At the Polls

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With such a fractious election season, one consensus the American public can agree upon is that at last, it’s over.

The JT stopped by area polling stations on Election Day in order to survey how locals cast their ballot and what issues were important to them. Here’s what they had to say:


North Oaks Retirement Community

Ira Askin referred to this being a “disappointing election” and that, as he put it bluntly, “anyone who votes for Trump doesn’t know what America’s all about. So I didn’t vote for Trump.”

The stalwart Askin revealed he has always voted against the candidate he dislikes in favor of voting for the one he aligns with more closely in every election since he was 18.

“This one,” he said, “was a no-brainer.”

Brett Cohn (Photo by Mathew Klickstein)
Brent Cohn (Photo by Mathew Klickstein)

Brent Cohn, also a Pikesville resident, emerged from the same polling station minutes later with a diametrically opposed opinion.

Though he agreed with Kleiman and Askin that “it was very important to vote today,” his take on the “circus” we’ve been witnessing couldn’t have been more dissimilar: “I voted for Donald Trump because I’m looking for change. Change is needed, and we need to rebuild our military, control our borders, make sure the health care system is solvent and that Social Security is solvent.”

While Cohn made it clear he’s not necessarily scared for himself, he fears for his children and grandchildren who he worries will be left without said changes, particularly in what tends to be a blue state.

“But it is what it is,” he said, resigned.

Pikesville High School

“I don’t like Hillary Clinton, but Trump’s a fascist and I don’t vote for fascists,” said Pikesville’s Fred Karlup. “I’m an Orthodox Jew and I don’t see how an Orthodox Jew can vote for a man like Trump.”

Cross Country Elementary School

Ruth Goetz (Photo by Mathew Klickstein)
Ruth Goetz (Photo by Mathew Klickstein)

Dressed as Clinton — blonde wig and all — Pikesville resident Ruth Goetz stood outside the CCE polling station recounting her own “frightening” experiences as a dedicated Trump supporter who claimed to have been harangued and bullied by “abusive liberals.”

“They feel like they have the right to call me names,” Goetz said. “There’s no civil discourse.”

Northwestern High School

Natalie Shoshan, who resides in Mount Washington, did not disclose who she voted for in any of the races in part because of the divisiveness she said she has noticed throughout the election process.

Shoshan, who immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine 20 years ago, sided with her presidential choice on a number of topics that have become hot-button issues such as the Affordable Care Act, the Second Amendment and national and homeland security.

“As far as health care initiatives, as far as the right to bear arms, as far as anything foreign or domestic, I liked where my candidate stood on all those things,” said Shoshan.

Glyndon Elementary School

Ryan Kivitz, an Owings Mills native and registered independent, said he voted for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson because he thought Johnson could best unite the country.

“With the [presidential] election becoming more of a back-and-forth show between the [two major-party candidates], I feel people have lost faith in what we are looking for in a commander-in-chief,” Kivitz said.

Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School

In the race to replace retiring Baltimore City Council District 5 councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector, the council’s self-described dean, Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, was out at the polls in full force with his family.

His sister-in-law, Amanda Schuster, was stationed in front of Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School, passing out fliers with all the candidates’ names on the Democratic ticket to voters as they made their way into the building.

Schuster wanted to reassure voters of Schleifer’s credentials compared with write-in candidate Derrick Lennon, who Schleifer defeated in a hard-fought primary in April.

“If I didn’t believe him or agree with him, I wouldn’t be standing here supporting him,” Schuster said. “He really takes the time to listen to everyone, and he truly wants to do what is best for the community and cares about meeting everyone’s needs.”

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