Democracy works here!

Published 5:36 pm Friday, March 6, 2020

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The citizens of Bertie, Hertford, Northampton and Gates counties owe a debt of gratitude to the people who thanklessly and tirelessly work the polls during local elections.

Yes, the candidates who won during this past Tuesday’s Primary election deserve congratulations and the candidates that lost deserve a pat on the back for caring enough to run for public office, but in the excitement of seeing who will be leading local counties into the future, we sometimes forget those who work so hard to make the election process work.

The Boards of Elections supervisors and their staff members in our local counties deserve special praise for their efforts to organize and make sure things ran smoothly during and after Tuesday’s Primary.

But the poll workers at the polling places also deserve praise. It is important work they do – making sure that democracy is unhindered and that voters can exercise their right to participate – but it is also a job that can be quite aggravating at times as they deal with disgruntled citizens who have failed to properly register or may have showed up at the wrong polling place.

The rewards for poll work are scant and the workers are blamed for every delay and every problem even if it is not their fault.

In addition to making sure only registered voters vote, poll workers help the elderly or inform persons about to make their individual choices for local leadership by explaining how the balloting works. It may look simple to some, but some need a bit of help when it comes to knowing exactly how the system works.

There were some glitches on Tuesday, particularly at the Snakebite Precinct in Bertie County where an electronic device failed shortly after the poll opened. Bertie election officials were on top of that issue. Later in the day they requested that the State Board of Elections extend the polling at that precinct by 30 minutes. The State Board, meeting by phone in a conference call, agreed.

We are fortunate to have dedicated and honest people helping make democracy work in our area and we are fortunate that so many voters ventured out on Tuesday, even dodging a few showers later in the day, to ensure their voices were heard.

Democracy works here.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald