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03/06/2017

Secretary of State to Recognize Longtime Polling Place as Keystone of Democracy

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés today will recognize Chambers Hill Fire Company in Dauphin County as a Keystone of Democracy.

The Keystone of Democracy award, to be presented this evening at the fire company’s monthly meeting, is given to polling places, election officials or poll workers in recognition of 50-plus consecutive years of election service.
“Since the 1950s, Dauphin County voters have gathered twice a year to cast ballots at the Chambers Hill Fire Company,” Secretary Cortés said. “Our democratic system depends on committed individuals and institutions to serve as cornerstones of the electoral process. By opening their doors to voters, they demonstrate their willingness to work for the cause of free and fair elections.”
Chambers Hill Fire Company, an all-volunteer fire company in Swatara Township, was founded in 1954. Soon after, it became the polling place for Swatara’s 8th Ward.
Mary Klaus, fire company president, said she thinks of the site as a “town hall” for the Chambers Hill area. Each Election Day, company members raise funds by selling a variety of foods.
“After people vote, they usually gather in our social hall to eat and visit,” Klaus said. “Voting is both a civic duty and a wonderful social activity for our residents.”
Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries, who serves as Chairman of the Dauphin County Board of Elections, praised the fire company for its decades of service to the community. 
“In addition to providing rapid, life-saving aid in emergencies, the Chambers Hill Fire Company has opened its doors to the public and hosted countless special events, from family reunions to weddings,” Commissioner Pries said. “For the past 50 years, it also has played a role in the elections process, serving as a polling place for Swatara Township residents. I offer my congratulations for this tremendous honor that the members of Chambers Hill Fire Company deserve and thank them for their outstanding service to our county.”
The Keystone of Democracy designation recognizes unique establishments that play an integral part in their communities’ elections, as well as citizens who offer their service in helping their neighbors exercise their right to vote.
The Department of State encourages county elections officials to contact us about polling places or election workers in the county that may qualify for the designation of Keystone of Democracy. Email us at ra-st-press@pa.gov or call 717-783-1621.
 
MEDIA CONTACT:   Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621
 
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