WYOMING — Democrats lined up in the parking lot of the Midway Shopping Center on Saturday for a drive-thru signature-gathering event inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Co-organizer Thomas Bindus, a Luzerne County Democratic committeeman, said the drive-thru event organized by Luzerne County Democratic Women was being held out of necessity because door-to-door signature gathering is not practical this year.
“They stay in their cars so nobody has to get cold, and everybody’s double-masked,” he said. “Everybody is aware that the safety protocols will be in place.”
Candidates working the line in front of the shuttered Bon-Ton at the end of the strip mall included judicial candidates attorney Jim Bobeck and Magisterial District Judge Alexandra Kokura Kravitz; Luzerne County Council candidates Jimmy Sabatino, Sheila Saidman, Maryann Velez, Matt Vough and Jane Walsh Waitkus; Luzerne County incumbent Controller Michelle Bednar; and Kingston council candidate John Chernesky.
The candidates said they came out to get to know voters in a safe environment.
“I think it’s important to reach out to voters in the best and safest way that we can,” Kokura Kravitz said. “This is campaigning during the time of COVID, so we’re all adapting as every family is adapting to everyday events in their lives. This is a safe way to have people come to you to help support your campaign.”
Bobeck agreed that the event was a good way to safely gather the needed signatures on nominating petitions, which must be turned into the county election bureau by March 9.
“We need to do this in a safe way,” Bobeck said. “If we made one single person get sick, it is not worth it to run for office. That is a detriment to what we’re trying to do. So we want to get out, we want to meet people, for me personally I just want to get my message out.”
Shavertown resident Mike Callahan, a registered Democrat, said he came out to sign petitions to show his support.
“I just thought it was a great way to do something to encourage the democratic process in a safe way,” Callahan said. “This was just a safe way to do it. And you get a pen and Hershey Kisses. How could you go wrong?”
The Luzerne County Democratic Party is also planning a similar series of walk-through petition signing events at its headquarters at 60 Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.
The schedule is 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday; 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 26; and 5 to 7 p.m. on March 4.