Monongahela polling place brings fun to Election Day

3 min read
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Paul Paterra/Observer-Reporter

Working at the polling place at the Monongahela Fire Hall can be a fun experience for the workers as they dress for a theme for each Election Day. Tuesday’s theme was a tropical theme, as displayed by, from left, Linda Sarver, Amy Michalic, judge of election, MaryLou Kramer and Cathy Siebert.

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Paul Paterra/Observer-Reporter

Amy Michalic, judge of elections, holds up her plastic coconut cup, in keeping with the tropics theme Tuesday at the Monongahela Fire Hall.

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Paul Paterra/Observer-Reporter

Rodney the parrot was the “mascot” for Tuesday’s tropics-themed day at the Monongahela Fire Hall polling place.

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Paul Paterra/Observer-Reporter

One of the tables at the Monongahela Fire Hall was decorated Tuesday in a tropical theme, as well as for the birthday of Amy Michalic, judge of elections, whose birthday is today.

MONONGAHELA – Amy Michalic wanted to bring a little fun to Election Day.

So, the judge of elections at the polling place at the Monongahela Fire Hall decided to create a different theme for every election to lighten the atmosphere for poll workers and voters alike on a day typically not really associated with levity. It’s something she started when she took over the position 16 years ago.

“It makes voting a cheerful event again with the way the world has become,” Michalic said. “We had to bring some fun back. How can you be in a bad mood when you come in and you see these smiling faces?”

This Tuesday’s theme was the tropics. Many of those working at the polling place were attired in tie-dye shirts and sported leis. Tables were decorated with tropical accents, such as grass skirting. Among the decorations on the wall was a parrot named Rodney, who, Michalic said, is the precinct “mascot.”

Poll workers drank out of plastic coconut cups, and Michalic said she cooks a “smorgasbord” for the day, which included brownies, cookies, strawberry pretzel salad, three kinds of dip, shredded chicken, homemade buns and potato salad.

Part of Tuesday’s celebration was for Michalic’s birthday, which is today, and included a birthday cake.

Michalic said the fire hall has been decorated for Election Day for the last 16 years. Past themes have included Tie-Dye Day, Amy’s Army Day – when they sported T-shirts to support Michalic, who is in need of a kidney transplant – and a Steelers-themed day.

Sisters Linda Sarver, Cathy Siebert and MaryLou Kramer were among the poll workers at the fire hall. They were clad in their tropical attire, and all said it’s a very enjoyable experience.

“I really get excited about all of this,” Sarver said. “It’s like a party. We have good food and good decorations. We enjoy it.”

Sarver and Michalic have worked together at the polls for a number of years. When Michalic first suggested theme days, she was on board.

“I thought it was really nice,” Sarver said. “I like all of the different themes.”

Monongahela resident Bob Porter has been voting at the fire hall for a number of years.

“It does give it a different feel,” Porter said. “You don’t feel like you’re just at a place to vote. It gives you a good feeling.”

Michalic said that’s the kind of feedback she gets from those who come to cast their ballot.

“It’s very positive,” she said. “They love when they come in here.”

Michalic said there will be a red, white and blue and camo theme for the general election in November, again in support of Amy’s Army.

“I actually have people asking to come work here,” Michalic said. “I have little or no turnover because we all get along and make it fun.”


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