The Hays County’s election judges, clerks and poll-workers were recognized and celebrated recently for their hard work and “the vital role” they play in Hays County with two events.
Since 2012, the county has experienced record-breaking turnout each year, but the 2018 election increase was one that particularly challenged election clerks and poll-workers.
On February 21, a reception co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Hays County and Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson was held at the San Marcos Government Center.
Poll-workers and election judges from across the county who worked during the early voting period were honored by polling location, and many took the opportunity to speak about their experiences as well as why they choose to work the polls.
The second event was at Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting. The court adopted a proclamation declaring March 2019 as Election Worker Appreciation Month.
Member and past president Ida Miller spoke on behalf of The Hays County LWV.
“Hays County voters have turned out in record numbers in the November 2012, 2016, and 2018 elections. In the November 2018 election, early voting surpassed turnout in previous November elections.
Twenty-two percent of participating voters turned out on Election Day. Seventy-eight percent of Hays County voters chose to vote early. Election judges and clerks make this possible through their work with the Office of the County Elections Administrator.
The League of Women Voters of Hays County wishes to recognize the work performed by the election judges and clerks over the last several election cycles. Without their service, voters could not exercise this fundamental right.
Hays County election judges and clerks are very proud. Some have been participating for as long as half a century. Others are new to the county. When several were asked why they choose to show up for elections, these dedicated residents stated they do so because they value the right to vote.
And those of us who show up to vote appreciate the assistance we are provided with voting equipment, the grace with which challenges are managed, and respect for the act of voting.
The League of Women Voters of Hays County comes before you to request public recognition for the work of the Hays County election judges and clerks.”
Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson cited graphs showing the county’s numbers and patterns of voting during the 2018 election during early voting and on Election Day.
Besides her office staff, Anderson particularly cited those election workers who had worked elections for more than 20 years, often working 14 to 15-hour days during elections: Mary Salinas (86 years old, works full time at the Elections Administration office during elections), Jo Burdette, Judy Dunn, Aart Millecam, and Rose Brooks.
“I say over 20 years, but some of them are over 30, and Ms. Brooks by far is the longest serving election worker with somewhere between 40 and 50 years of service, so she has seen a lot of changes,” Anderson said.
Anderson noted the surge in registration as well as in voting in the 2018 general election, and that she anticipates a continued surge for 2020 as registration has not slowed down.