Maxatawny Poll Shift Still Impacting Students

Maxatawny Poll Shift Still Impacting Students

Voter Suppression or Not?

The most contentious election cycle in US history came to a close on November 8, 2016 but much of the hateful rhetoric about the political system and its core members lives on. One of the things Trump supporters have been vehemently shouting since the beginning of his campaign is that the electoral process is rigged, the Electoral College should be disbanded and the polls watched for infractions. In essence they are correct, the voting system in the United States is corrupt but not in the way they claimed.

There are three main types of fraud during an election. Electoral fraud is extremely difficult both to successfully execute and to detect because of how diverse the state systems are in terms of electoral procedure. Typically, its top down fraud by elected officials padding the numbers through casting ballots using the deceased etc.. Voter fraud by the individual occurs infrequently, as it is hard for someone to masquerade as different person at the local level in rural areas. Voter suppression is the easiest method for parties to control the vote by controlling sections of the overall population and it happens all the time. In fact, it’s happening here in Maxatawny Township.

In 2013, Maxatawny township moved the voting polls from Kutztown University Keystone Hall to a local church 4.5 miles away. Voter turnout is adversely affected by distance. Moving the polls from high concentrations of voters significantly decreases the likelihood of an individual casting their vote. If those individuals lack a vehicle, it becomes even more likely that voters will not cast their ballot. By moving the polls outside of town, not only does it decrease voter turnout for the townsfolk but it significantly decreases the turnout for students. The overall result, effectively eliminating student influence on local politics and their government for potentially four years of their stay at Kutztown University.

In response to the poll shift, the KU student government board began organizing students to get to the polls. In 2014, organized by the Student Government Board (SGB), KU students embarked on the “March to the Polls”, a four-and-a-half-mile trek, some of which occurred on 222. The march was meant to highlight the dangers of attempting to walk to the polls and the inability for some students to vote. The local community was not impressed, the voting station stayed out of reach for college students without vehicles. However, the SGB did not stop there. It has petitioned the local election board several times to have the polling places shifted and continues to supports acts that highlight the issue.

SGB then moved to run busses from school to the polls on election day. According to Berks-Mont news, who interviewed the then head of the SGB Joe Scoborio, there are five higher education institutions in Berks County. KU is the largest and is the only one without a poll on campus. It made sense to Scoborio and the students that the polls be moved to centers of the population. Instead, a red county, fearing a blue college, made it harder for students to vote instead of attempting to encourage the communities’ ideals or appealing to the local population. An incoming freshman would potentially be subject to two House of representatives terms and a Senate term during the normal four-year bachelor program, all of which they are unable to participate in without outside assistance like hiring busses.

There have been several attempts to relocate the polling place, all turned down by local officials. Clearly the move is voter suppression however, the local officials claim it was not intended to be nor is it actually voter suppression. The townsfolk and local poll workers support of the initiative suggests otherwise. Local politicians have been using townsfolk dislike of Kutztown University to benefit their political agenda. Research into polling results show that the lower the turnout to an election, generally the more favorable it is for the Republicans as they are more consistent and older voters.

Without the student body, this town would be vastly different. There is no possibility that the immediate community could support two large scale supermarkets, three bars, a music store, the local housing market for renting property etc. The list goes on and at the very least, townsfolk have the convenience of easy access to these businesses, the town benefits from increased tax revenue to repair roads and public facilities, and the townsfolk benefit from being able to use facilities on campus as well as attend some events. This is a community where Kutztown University has been promoting and helping to grow for over 150 years and yet the local townsfolk continue to have exhibit a harsh us vs them mentality. Imagine what this college and the surrounding area could be like if people could work together.

Matthew Santos, the Director of University Relations, said “Our [Kutztown University] economic impact on the region is huge.” A recent study indicates that the KU campus total economic impact is $357,989,848. While not all of that directly aids the locals, a significant portion does. Santos went on to clarify that townsfolk have access to the KU library, the performing arts center, NCAA Division II athletics and the Planetarium should they be so inclined.

Kutztown University has a Community Outreach center that students can volunteer to participate in local events including the food pantry. Perhaps growing the outreach center and increasing public projects staffed by students would do more to sway the local population than activism.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.


This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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