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Poll and postal workers deserve our thanks and respect

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

There are few people in the United States who are more dedicated to serving their fellow citizens than those who run and oversee elections at every level of government. It is not a simple task, and state to state, laws are different and can be daunting for those who are new to election work. But still, feet on the ground, these workers are the saving grace of our democracy.

We certainly saw that in the Northwest Corner on Election Day, Nov. 3. Remember that many poll workers have historically been older in the Northwest Corner (like so many of us.) Yet still they came out and organized voting that day despite their possible vulnerability to COVID-19. The area towns were ready with changes as necessary defined by the secretary of the state to accommodate voters during the coronavirus pandemic. Applications for absentee ballots were sent to all Connecticut residents, who could then apply and either mail the completed ballots to their town halls or drop them in secure boxes there to be counted. Or, of course, there was the opportunity to vote on Election Day in person.

Those who voted on Election Day in this area mainly found little obstruction to a quick and easy voting experience, except in Salisbury, where there were lines all day long that only grew in length during the course of the day. It could be that whatever their plan was could use another look the next time around, but maybe by then COVID will be less of an issue and things can go back to normal, whatever that will look like post-pandemic. (We can hope.) Still, the results from the Northwest Corner towns were all in to the secretary of the state’s office in a timely manner, so that there was no lag in the statewide count. 

So kudos and deep thanks to those who worked locally on behalf of democracy during the elections this year. That includes not only the poll workers but also all those local postal workers who worked  hard and long hours to be sure mailed-in ballots arrived at their destinations safely and as quickly as possible. 

It is the work of all those who coordinate voting in towns, cities, counties and states across the country that is so very critical to accurate outcomes in all the U.S. elections. That is not to say there are no issues with suppression of access to voting, and that gerrymandering doesn’t rig the system and that there may be issues in every election that need oversight and further investigation. There are good reasons to do that on an ongoing basis.

But the people who count the votes that are cast have a different mission, in most cases, than a political one. Their dedication and confidence that they are counting correctly and thereby doing the right thing for their fellow citizens will be hard to overcome in the quest of President Trump’s legal teams to find evidence of widespread fraud anywhere in the country. That serious commitment, while especially noteworthy here, is certainly not unique to the Northwest Corner of Connecticut. 

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