Poconos residents honored for voting records
Robert Nied has a catchphrase.
"The ballot is not a valentine for a candidate," he said. "It's a chess move on ... how you want the politics to evolve."
Nied has voted consecutively in the past 50 general elections. He was one of 46 Pike County residents recently inducted in the PA Voter Hall of Fame. The Pennsylvania Department of State began the Hall of Fame 41 years ago as a way to honor an elite group of Pennsylvanians.
"It's really also a recognition of their commitment to civic participation," said Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Elections Jonathan Marks.
Before 2022, the last time a resident of Pike County was inducted into the hall of fame was 1996, said Nadeen Manzoni, director of the Pike County Elections Office. The county recently began electronically documenting their 40,000 plus voting records, she said.
"While we were doing that, anybody that we came across that had voted in 1972 ... we set that record aside," she said.
The county honors the residents because it really is an accomplishment, she said.
"People get sick, the weather is bad ... life gets in the way sometimes. But yeah, these people have not missed one single election in 50 years," Manzoni said.
Just under 24,000 residents are in the hall of fame, said Marks.
"If you consider out of all of the millions of voters in Pennsylvania, it really is a very select group of individuals," he said.
The Hall of Fame honors those who voted consecutively in the November general election because Pennsylvania’s primaries are closed, said Marks. If someone is registered as an independent or has another party affiliation they cannot vote in the Spring elections.
Inductees get a certificate from the Department of State.
"It really is impressive and I'm hopeful too that it kind of bridges generations where you have one generation kind of passing along this tradition of civic participation to the next generation," said Marks.
Ella Eggenberger of Greely has voted in the past 68 general elections.
“I was raised in a family that when there was election, you went," she said.
When she turned 18, her father took her to Milford to register to vote.
Eggenberger said it’s important to voice your opinion.
She said sometimes people who complain about how terrible their government is don't always vote.
"So I'm voting," she said.
Nied’s interest in the political outcome of the county, the state and the nation keeps him voting year after year.
"It's critically important," he said.
Applying for recognition in the PA Voter Hall of Fame is a simple process, said Marks. Individuals have to fill out a form to affirm they have voted consecutively over 50 years. The Department of State works with county elections offices to confirm voter history. Counties, like Pike, can also nominate Pennsylvanians for the honor.
For more details and a searchable database, visit www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/voterhalloffamehomepage.aspx.