Montgomery County Honors Lifelong Voters, Stresses Importance of Civic Engagement Ahead of Pennsylvania Primary

Montgomery County Commissioners Recognize New Inductees to Statewide Voter Hall of FameMontgomery County celebrated some of its long time and most dedicated voters during a ceremony held at One Montgomery Plaza in Norristown on Thursday, April 4, 2024. /Photo courtesy of Montgomery County, PA

NORRISTOWN, PA — In a stirring ceremony on Thursday, the Montgomery County Commissioners inducted 16 residents into Pennsylvania’s Voter Hall of Fame, celebrating their unwavering commitment to democracy through participation in 50 consecutive general elections. This recognition not only honored individual dedication but also served as a poignant reminder of the crucial role that voting plays in shaping the future of communities and the nation at large.

The event, held in Norristown, underscored the significance of civic engagement, particularly as Pennsylvania gears up for its primary elections on April 23. With the registration deadline for new voters falling on the same day as the ceremony, the timing could not have been more apt for highlighting the importance of each vote in the democratic process.

Neil Makhija, County Commissioner and Chair of the Board of Elections, lauded the inductees for their steadfast belief in democracy. “This is an inspiring day, as we recognize people’s unshakeable faith in the democratic system,” Makhija said. He emphasized Pennsylvania’s critical role in the country’s electoral landscape, noting that the state’s voters have often been pivotal in national outcomes.

The ceremony also acknowledged other guests who had matched this impressive voting streak in Montgomery County, including those who participated in primary elections. Their collective dedication serves as a beacon of commitment to civic duty and the democratic process.

Thomas DiBello, another Montgomery County Commissioner, highlighted the equal importance of off-year races, which tend to receive less attention than presidential elections. “You set the tone as far as dedication to voting,” DiBello told the inductees, urging them to inspire others to follow their example.

Former Abington Commissioner D. Gregory Holt, one of the honorees, shared a message for younger voters, stressing that abstaining from voting can have long-term consequences. He reminded young people that issues important to them now, or even those that seem irrelevant, could significantly impact future generations. Holt’s perspective underscored voting as an investment in the future.

The youngest attendee recognized at the event was 28-year-old Joseph Burkert, who has participated in 20 consecutive elections since becoming eligible to vote. Burkert’s commitment reflects a growing awareness among younger voters of the importance of having their voices heard, regardless of political leanings.

As part of the run-up to the primary election, Montgomery County’s Voter Services satellite offices opened on April 6, offering residents the opportunity to request and submit mail-in ballots. Additionally, drop boxes will be available starting April 13, ensuring accessible voting options for all eligible residents.

The Voter Hall of Fame, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Elections Bureau, stands as a testament to the enduring value of civic participation. The program, which saw a public call for applications last month, aims to promote voting as a fundamental pillar of democracy.

Montgomery County’s commitment to civic engagement, exemplified by the Voter Hall of Fame and the emphasis on participating in elections, resonates at a time when the act of voting has never been more critical. As the county looks forward to future celebrations of voter dedication, the message is clear: every vote counts, and the act of voting is a powerful expression of faith in the democratic process and an investment in the future of the community and the nation.

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