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‘I Voted’ attendees express concerns, praise over midterms

Most partygoers share overarching sentiment about importance of voting local

Julie+Kmec%2C+member+of+the+Palouse+Proactive+leadership+team%2C+greets+and+hands+out+voting+stickers+to+guests+during+the+organization%27s+%22I+Voted%22+party+on+Tuesday+night+at+South+Fork+Public+House.+
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‘I Voted’ attendees express concerns, praise over midterms

Julie Kmec, member of the Palouse Proactive leadership team, greets and hands out voting stickers to guests during the organization's

Julie Kmec, member of the Palouse Proactive leadership team, greets and hands out voting stickers to guests during the organization's "I Voted" party on Tuesday night at South Fork Public House.

JACQUI THOMASSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Julie Kmec, member of the Palouse Proactive leadership team, greets and hands out voting stickers to guests during the organization's "I Voted" party on Tuesday night at South Fork Public House.

JACQUI THOMASSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JACQUI THOMASSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Julie Kmec, member of the Palouse Proactive leadership team, greets and hands out voting stickers to guests during the organization's "I Voted" party on Tuesday night at South Fork Public House.

KEVIN DIEMERT, Evergreen reporter

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The time is 5:30 p.m. on midterm election night at South Fork Public House in Pullman and the party is only just beginning. It’s a knockout turnout for nonpartisan organization Palouse ProActive, whose “I Voted” party drew in the local community to celebrate the first major election since 2016.

Scorpion tails, pita platters, newsletter sign-ups and future topic suggestion sheets lined tables as voters from across county lines came to celebrate. Early election results had yet to be posted for Whitman County, but the national numbers were beginning to rack up. Members Kimberly Carper, Jenni Spencer and Julie Kmec were all hands on deck to make sure Palouse ProActive was well-represented.

Lynn and Mike McCollough of Idaho were among the first guests to arrive. The husband and wife expressed their eagerness for Idaho Proposition 2 — the Medicaid Expansion Initiative — to pass in the state. Prop 2 was a measure extending medical coverage to childless and low-income adults.

The McColloughs also expressed hope that the office for superintendent of public instruction would flip hands from the current office holder, Sherri Ybarra, into those of Cindy Wilson. They shared their dismay that current Idaho Sen. Dan Foreman has described the greater Moscow area as a “cesspool of liberalism.”

Across the room was Jefferson Elementary School first grade teacher Jill Brockmier, who said she hoped newly elected officials would keep educational issues at the forefront of their efforts.

“I just want sanity in government,” she said. “I want things to turn around.”

Affordable health care and education was the focus of her passions, as she said children across state lines are suffering. She said while there is a lot being done locally in Pullman to combat issues in those regards, more effort was needed regionally and even nationally to fix issues relating to child welfare in the home, the community and in the public education system.

Christine Wall, a longtime Whitman County resident from the United Kingdom, expressed hope for women’s issues to be a main focus from the midterm elections onward.

“I want as much Democratic pullback as possible,” Wall said.

Wall expressed concern over affordable health care for her and her fellow citizens. She said she felt taken aback that health care was still such a heavily contested topic and that we should be looking out for our fellow Americans no matter what.

Over the course of the night frustration was directed toward what some said was the confusing and somewhat misleading wording of local and statewide initiatives.

Wall said she believed the initiatives were misleading and hoped people did their research into issues prior to casting their votes.

“People feel strongly about a lot of initiatives and a lot of people have also been saying that the wording is confusing,” said Brandon Chapman, director of marketing and communications at WSU and Pullman City Council member.

Joe Astorino, a former student of Kmec’s and current garden manager at the Community Action Center in Pullman, showed concern about taxation for the proposed carbon and grocery initiatives being introduced in Washington state.

Like many people in the room during the evening, he said he was particularly interested in voting for local officials.

“You need a community around you to make sense of local politics,” he said.

Pullman resident Tim Paulitz said he was eager to see Lisa Brown elected, hoping she and local elected officials might do something to reduce our carbon footprint. His excitement was reserved for student voter registration and he said he was genuinely glad to see many younger members of society becoming active in politics.

Jesica DeHart, another Whitman County resident, said she was excited not just for local officials but also for the Senate race in Texas. She wanted to see a Beto O’Rourke victory.

“I just want a blue wave,” she said. “Just a blue wave. I’m waiting to see if people think that 2016 was a mistake.”

Palouse ProActive representatives congratulated community members of all affiliations for exercising their right to vote. High fives, “I Voted” stickers and talk of their organization with newcomers floated around. The volume turned up quite a bit, with community members going full steam ahead in their conversations about local legislation.

“No matter who wins in what offices, I want to see a high voter turnout,” Chapman said. “All elections are important for all officials, and want to see this high turnout that’s been predicted [to] actually happen.”

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‘I Voted’ attendees express concerns, praise over midterms