HARRISON – As is all too often the case, the public was a “no show” for the public testing of election equipment held Oct. 25 at Hayes Township Hall. Maye Tessner-Rood, township treasurer, expressed her disappointment with the public’s lack of participation, and offered a suggestion to the Cleaver.
“So, when people come into the paper and be yelling that everything’s corrupt, ask them if they ever come to a public testing,” she said.
Others onsite were Rick Jones, township supervisor; Deb Hoyt, township clerk; Ernie Teall, precinct chairperson; and Rachelle Burk, a new election inspector.
The five were busy inserting the requisite number of test ballots and ensuring that votes cast and the ballot numbers aligned as they should. Another election worker training/run through was scheduled for Nov. 1, where the workers would all get experience handling ballots and boning up on the highly specific procedures needed to conduct voting and tabulating correctly, thus accurately.
The testing and training going on at Hayes is being repeated across the county, state and nation as the 2022 General Election nears. These workers dedicate many hours of committed effort in order to ensure the citizens’ right to vote is available to all eligible voters. This year, that work is multiplied as new voter access rules have been applied in recent days, increasing the workload through extended early voting, and other changes which will increase election worker expenses to the townships and cities.
Rules changes also include scrutiny of ballot drop boxes, as well as specific demands for chain of custody. And although necessary for election security, Tracy Wheeler-Clay, City of Harrison treasurer, noted those steps are somewhat cumbersome at Harrison City Hall as they require taking the hefty ballot bag out to the box to gather ballots, despite the fact that the box is just outside the main entry door, adjacent to the office door [roughly 20 feet]. Wheeler-Clay also said the city’s ballot box is emptied twice daily. The Hayes drop box is also just outside the building’s main entrance door.
Ultimately, the bottom line is that in order for those additional election worker dollars to be spent well, voters have to turn out to exercise their right of democracy – a right hard fought for, won and maintained by generations gone before, and a privilege not enjoyed by the majority of the world’s citizens. If the citizen’s voice is not heard at the ballot box, someone else’s will be.
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