It's interesting to watch some of the developments in local politics as well as at the state and national level.

It was nice to see there were no issues at the recent rallies for President Trump, conducted by the Crawford County Republican Party; and the Pride rally to support the gay community. It followed the same pattern as that of the rally last month to show support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

To me, it showed that although there are people who may not agree with those participating, they were respectful enough to allow them to demonstrate. I'm told there was one person who tried to start a confrontation with the BLM rally, but the participants ignored him and the event went on without an issue.

I think that speaks well for Crawford County.

• • •

At the same time, there is still some discord within the Crawford County Republican Party as a result of last year's sheriff race. Reports are those who didn't support the candidacy of Dave Powers have not yet returned to the party events. One person said the party is "in flux" mode.

While not returning to the local party organization, it's obvious those members are still strong Republicans — based on comments I have seen and heard.

The same is true of the Crawford County Democratic Party as some of those long-time members didn't support the Democratic candidate — Neil Fratus (who won the write-in vote for the nomination despite being a Republican.)

And, others, who left the party's involvement years ago, still have not returned, but remain loyal Democrats.

• • •

Looking at the state's page for election returns from the primary, it looks like there is one precinct that still has no results. The page shows only one not listed — but doesn't say where that is. That was posted as of late Tuesday night — four weeks after the primary election.

Let's hope that doesn't happen in November.

I say that because unfortunately, that type of delay (even though 99.99 percent are complete) the 0.01 percent leads to less confidence in the system.

• • •

The report shows that turnout was more than 30 percent in Crawford County — for both parties. The Democratic party had a turnout of 31.9 percent and Republicans 33.6 percent.

A huge portion of those who turned out did via mail-in or absentee ballots.

For example, one precinct had 155 in-person votes at the polls. However, the county's report shows 534 voted in that precinct.

I'm not sure if that's true in all 68 precincts, but with the huge number of mail-in votes in the county, it's obviously an indicator.

It will be interesting to me to see what happens with the mail-in votes come November.

Crawford County Commissioner Eric Henry already has announced the county won't be using paper ballots in the fall, but will be voting by machine at the precincts. Whether that will increase the in-person turnout remains to be seen.

• • •

At Meadville City Council level, it appears there is some division as well, as the usually unanimous votes are not there any longer.

One division appears to be the method for appointments. One side wants more interviews of potential applicants. The other side believes that in the small town of Meadville many council members have lived here a long time and know the applicants and their history without the need for extensive interviews.

The key is to reach that happy medium of not requiring hours and hours of interviews and yet not ignoring all applicants.

Other people have already indicated that come the next election, there will be more candidates on the ballot.

• • •

In the meantime, with only four months left until the fall election and the fact that many large festivals and other events are canceled, it's a sure bet the statewide and national candidates will have to turn to other styles of campaigning.

Locally, many of the traditional parades have been canceled. The parades were a time that people could march and get their name and face recognized without a lot of expense and time. So that method is not available this year.

I recall when Tom Ridge ran for governor, his campaign team did a huge amount of door-to-door campaigning throughout the state and it paid off. One worker campaigned with his young child strapped on his back (in a backpack-type support.) It showed the dedication of the worker, who later was on Ridge's staff.

The same type of campaign was true for Tom Corbett, as well as many others. I remember Corbett traveling across the state going from county to county. He said on election night when the early returns weren't in his favor, he noted the western portion of the state wasn't in yet. He was right and when all the votes were counted, it was evident that his personal style of campaigning paid off!

Today's candidates, however, appear to use mass media instead.

It's more evidence that times change, as do various means of campaigning. Some people don't appreciate the door-to-door. Others don't appreciate flyers by mail and others hate the TV advertising.

It's all a personal choice and the trick for the candidate is how to determine which style works best.

Politics is not easy as many have discovered.

• • •

In today's world of technology, it's easier to get information about candidates, but the key is for the voter to make certain the information is reliable and not somebody's scam information.

There is certainly enough information available and, to me, voters should start now and become informed about the candidates before the last two weeks before the election.

I'm hopeful that no matter who is elected — at all levels — the voters will accept the results without the protests.

To me, that's what America should be about.

• • •

In the meantime, we are celebrating our freedoms this weekend and it's important we remember what July 4th is all about — celebrating our many freedoms.

The freedom of democracy is one I think is worth celebrating.

Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.

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