I was proud to serve as a poll worker

For the first time last Election Day I served as a poll worker, and, let me tell you, it was an honor and privilege to be a part of such a special event.

At the urging of my wife, who has served as a poll worker for a number of years and who always came home with some amazing stories and a glow of service about her, I took the four-hour course to qualify as a poll worker.

I met with my compatriots the night before the election to set up the polls, which took about 90 minutes. Election Day morning you show up at 5:30 a.m. to turn on the machines and get everything ready for a long, and sometimes hectic, day.

The doors officially open at 6:30 a.m., and the work begins. A steady stream of voters came throughout the day, and there was never a moment when there was not something to be done. The hours fairly flew by.

Citizens take their right to vote very seriously, and they should. Tens of thousands of lives have been sacrificed so that we can enjoy this privilege. Many voters came armed with notes or newspaper clippings or endorsement sheets. All came with a sense of purpose and pride.

As the day progressed, I got the sense that many older Americans make sure they come out and vote. Why? Do they have a stronger sense of citizenship and civic responsibility than younger people? Do younger citizens vote via absentee ballot more than older folks? Does the future of their ward, city, state and country matter more to older folks than younger? Have younger voters been made cynical and disenfranchised by the years of deepening political divide? I sure hope not.

I bet many of these older folks have not missed voting in 35 years. Only time will tell if the younger generation has the same sense of purpose and determination.

Everyone, young and old, who came to the polls made a conscientious decision to take time out from their busy schedules to devote 15 minutes to voice their opinion on the direction and future of our great republic. They “get it.” They know that voting is a privilege. They take this privilege seriously; it shows on their faces and in their stride.

It took about 90 minutes after the polls ended to close the machines, count the unused ballots and justify the books. When I tried to open the outside door to go home it was blocked by a group of citizens who had driven to the polls, aimed their car headlights at the door and were reading the tiny computer printouts of voting totals we are required to post on the door. They take voting seriously, and they should, and I am heartened at their interest and participation.

In a few weeks I will get a check for my hours of service as a poll worker (all in all, the job pays a little more than minimum wage), but the money is a distant second to the civic pride I felt, and will continue to feel, for being part of such a great and glorious thing, Election Day.

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Volume 5, Issue 23, Posted 10:17 AM, 11.12.2013