20-year poll worker has seen plenty of changes
Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006
O'Neal Kennedy knows his way around a voting house.
Kennedy, a resident of rural Butler County, has been a poll worker for nearly 20 years at Harrison's, Beat 7.
The rural voting house is located a few miles east of Greenville on N. Mt. Zion Road.
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Since his early days as a voter and later, a poll worker, the retiree from Boss Manufacturing has seem changes for the better in the voting process.
“It's a lot easier than it used to be – no going behind the black curtain. Now, everything is automatic. Once they mark their ballot, you feed it into a machine and it keeps it totaled for you,” Kennedy said.
A new addition to the voting house this year will be a machine that will assist handicapped people in voting.
The voting house and the grounds around it have also taken on a new look, Kennedy is proud to note.
“This parking area out here had a sharp enbankment; it was mostly dirt. It's much better now,” he said, nodding toward the leveled, graveled area in front of the house.
“It'll be a lot easier for people to park and to get in and out of the place to vote,” Kennedy said.
The structure has been spruced up with a brand-new indoor bathroom facility, a new front door and fresh paint.
“The new bathroom will certainly make it nicer for us pollwatchers,” Kennedy said with a grin.
Approximately 300 people from the area vote at Beat 7, where Kennedy works with fellow veteran poll workers Tom Daniel, Barbara Jones and Linda Coleman.
“We have a good crew of people, the same ones we've had for seven or eight years, and they do a good job,” Kennedy said.
It was long-time poll watcher Myrtice Harrison who got Kennedy interested in becoming one himself.
“Mrs. Harrison was ready to give it up and looking for someone willing to learn about it…I thought would be a good way to serve the community.”
His job also always Kennedy the chance to “see all my neighbors and friends.”
And the turnout is good at Harrison's, the pollwatcher said.
“We have a good number of our registered voters who turn out for each election, which is always something you want to see.”
As for pollwatchers like Kennedy, “we just try to do a good job for our county.”
“If people need and ask for our help, we will assist them. But we never tell anyone who they should vote for. We are very particular about that.”