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.

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.

&#8220It'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.

&#8220This 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.

&#8220It'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.

&#8220The 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.

&#8220We 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.

&#8220Mrs. 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 &#8220see all my neighbors and friends.”

And the turnout is good at Harrison's, the pollwatcher said.

&#8220We 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, &#8220we just try to do a good job for our county.”

&#8220If 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.”