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Polling official: not an easy job

Many people take poll workers for granted. However, it is the hard work of these individuals that make elections happen.

Their tireless efforts start well before the elections and end well after the polls have closed.

These workers take time away from jobs, school, family and friends to make sure that elections are run fairly and effectively.

Most people are not aware of the hard work that goes into becoming a poll worker.

The majority of voters see these people as someone who smiles and hands them a card or helps with the occasional problem that may pop up.

They are much more than this.

Before even becoming a poll worker individuals are asked to attend a school.

The school is conducted by Probate Judge Steve Norman and tells them everything that they need to know about working the polls.

&uot;We basically go through all the material that we feel that they need to know,&uot; said Probate judge Steve Norman. &uot;We let them know what needs to be done before the polls open, while they are open and when they close.&uot;

Norman said that the school also discusses special situations that can arise.

&uot;We talk about a lot of ‘what ifs’ at the school also,&uot; said Norman. &uot;We like to keep them prepared for any situations than can arise.&uot;

If a person aspires to be an inspector there is even more schooling involved.

&uot;I hold another school for the inspectors before the others,&uot; said Norman. &uot;This year we will hold it May 13 which will be well before the primary.&uot;

Though there are different positions such as clerk, inspector and chief clerk, Norman tries to keep them prepared for every job.

&uot;We like to make them interchangeable,&uot; said Norman. &uot;In case one of them has to leave we want them to all be able to do each others job. That can make things go a lot more smoothly.&uot;

Usually, three clerks and two inspectors are assigned to each voting machine or ballot box.

There may be more in larger areas, or less in smaller. The number is based solely on need.

The workers’ day begins bright and early before voting begins.

It is their job to make sure that the machines are in working order and make sure that the cards are correct.

Once all of the preparatory measures have been taken it is time to open the polls.

While the polls are open the workers’ job is to make sure that voters are clear on all procedures.

They also check to make sure that voters have arrived at the correct location to cast their vote.

This is usually where any problems that may come up arise.

&uot;This has happened sometimes,&uot; said Norman. &uot;But usually, through their training they are able to handle it one way or the other and everything usually turns out fine.

The closing of the polls does not necessarily mean the end of the day for poll workers.

Often, this is when the hard work begins.

When the polls close Norman usually tells the workers to relax for a while.

&uot;I tell them to take a break,&uot; said Norman. &uot;Usually by that time they have put in a 12 or 13 hour day and they just need a little time to rest.&uot;

After a brief rest the poll workers must make sure that the ballots are in their correct location.

The poll workers then have the votes transported to q neutral location where they are tallied.

Often by the time the poll workers’ day is over they have put in a day and a half of a regular work session.

Despite the hard work most workers believe it is worth it.

Poll Inspector Pat MacNaughton has worked in the Providence voting house for many years and knows the importance of her job.

&uot;It is a privilege to be able to help the people and the government for such an important even,&uot; said McNaughton. &uot;We are helping people to exercise their right to vote and that is very important.&uot;

McNaughton also said that working at the polls gives her a chance to meet people in her community she may not normally see.

&uot;It really helps you get to know the people around you better,&uot; said McNaughton. &uot;There are a lot of people that you do not always get to talk to and working at the polls gives you than chance.&uot;

City Councilman and poll inspector Jeddo Bell also said that working at the polls on Election Day had been a positive experience.

&uot;The people are always very nice and cooperative,&uot; said Bell. &uot;Things usually go very smoothly with minimal problems.&uot;

Butler County owes all its poll workers a huge debt of gratitude. Without their tireless efforts voting could be chaotic.

These people are always reliable and do their part to make the voting process work.

Polling Places for this June’s primaries will be&uot;

Providence

Industry

Steiner’s Store

Midway

Harrison

Searcy

Manningham

Monterey

Forest Home

New Armory #1

New Armory #2

Health Dept. #1

Health Dept. #2

Central Vol. Fire Dept.

Dunbar #1

Dunbar #2

Garland

Georgiana #1

Georgiana #2

Chapman

Friendship

Rocky Creek

Center Hill

Bolling

McLains

McKenzie

Absentee