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In this Palm Beach County town, people arrived to vote on horseback
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#1 Posted : Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:41:17 AM(UTC)

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In this Palm Beach County town, people arrived to vote on horseback

 8:42 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2018
From left: Faith Bell, Sarah Hollingworth-Palmer, Patty Bialek, Joannie Hopkins, Jodi Brack Haslam, Darcy Dean Murray, Robert Shorr and Melissa Minarik rode to the polls in Loxahatchee Groves on March 13. (Contributed by Darcy Dean Murray)

Darcy Dean Murray of Loxahatchee Groves loves horses. She grew up with them, owns two and boards three on her land in Loxahatchee Groves. 

In the 15 years she has lived in the town, she mostly rides in the preserve toward Loxahatchee Groves’ north end. But recently she began organizing rides on the town’s limited trail system to hopefully raise awareness for the need for more equestrian trails.

So when one of her neighbors suggested a group ride to the polls on election day last Tuesday, she was in. 

Call it horseback activism. 

“It was such a novel idea,” Murray said. 

The 47-year-old legal transcriptionist rounded up a few of her riding buddies, then called the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to request an escort for those who lived south of Okeechobee Boulevard and would need help getting across to the town’s one polling location at Palms West Presbyterian Church. 

Eight riders took part, including Murray, Faith Bell, Sarah Hollingworth-Palmer, Patty Bialek, Joannie Hopkins, Jodi Brack Haslam, Robert Shorr and Melissa Minarik.

The reception at the voting precinct was overwhelming, Murray said.

“We were like rock stars riding up,” she said, laughing. “People wanted to take photos with us and with the horses. It was about 45 minutes before we could get in there and vote.”

Those who were eligible voted for Phillis Maniglia, a Realtor and longtime Loxahatchee Groves resident who by four votes unseated incumbent Ron Jarriel for Seat 1 on the town council

Murray said she plans to continue riding the trails that are available in the town. “We’re an equestrian, agricultural community,” she said. “This is what makes our town unique.”

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