A poll worker helps a voter with his ballot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A poll worker helps a voter with his ballot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Voices of the Peninsula: Poll workers ensure election integrity

As a recent retiree, I was invited by a friend to work as an election worker in the November 2020 election

By Patti Truesdell

I have enjoyed reading recent editorials about voting, so I thought I would share my own experiences:

As a recent retiree, I was invited by a friend to work as an election worker in the November 2020 election. I was told that because of COVID finding people was hard that year, so I agreed to help.

My paperwork soon came in the mail and I signed everything I needed to sign. I had to take a class. There was a lot to learn. A lot more than I thought, for sure. We watched a video and took a test. The big day finally came. We set up the night before and arrived at the voting station at about seven in the morning. Voting began at 8 a.m.

Because I was new, they gave me an easy job. Easy. I stood all day at the voting machine and took the ballot and entered them into the voting machine. My job was to be sure that every ballot was correctly placed into the machine and counted. I was to be sure that the person voting did not leave until the machine registered their vote. That was MY job! Everyone else had their own individual jobs helping voters.

When the polls closed at 8 p.m., the real work began. Everything had to be checked two or three times, every ballot, and absentee ballot, checked and re-checked. Every worker had to sign every box until all ballots had been accounted for, every list of every voter checked and matched. I was amazed at how many times I had to sign my name! Then we had to phone in to the precinct to make sure our numbers matched up with the computers’ numbers. Finally, at about 10 p.m., we got the word that everything matched and we signed our final paperwork — everyone had to sign! Whew! We were tired. All boxes sign, sealed and delivered to the borough.

So imagine my surprise a few months later, when I began to hear not just in the national news, but right here in Alaska and here on the peninsula that local election workers were somehow suspect and not to be trusted! That OUR local election workers cannot be trusted to handle ballots with integrity and may even try to influence the election by falsifying the results of the election. That we needed more security or “poll watchers” to keep an eye or prevent election workers from mishandling ballots. Wow! How disappointed and sad I felt.

I believe in voting, and I probably WILL help with voting again because I believe getting out the vote IS the most important thing we can all do! But, just so you know, it is a lot of work! Every vote counts and is counted carefully! Those workers deserve our respect for volunteering. Just having my say!

Patti Truesdell lives in Soldotna.

More in Opinion

This July 16, 2019, file photo shows the Capitol Dome in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Opinion: The Respect for Marriage Act represents a balanced approach

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported a “fairness for all” approach

Deven Mitchell greets his fellow members of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s Board of Trustees at the start of his interview to be the APFC’s new executive director on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: It’s an honor to now lead Alaska’s largest renewable resource

As a lifelong Alaskan, leading APFC is my childhood dream come true

Opinion: Freedom in the classroom sets precedence for the future

We advocate for the adoption of legislation to protect students’ First Amendment rights…

A roll of “I Voted” stickers await voters on Election Day in Alaska. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the prospect of a state constitutional convention. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Election winners, losers and poor losers

Tshibaka and Palin misread Alaskans by thinking Trump’s endorsement all but guaranteed they’d win.

This 1981 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an electron micrograph of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV. Children’s hospitals in parts of the country are seeing a distressing surge in RSV, a common respiratory illness that can cause severe breathing problems for babies. Cases fell dramatically two years ago as the pandemic shut down schools, day cares and businesses. Then, with restrictions easing, the summer of 2021 brought an alarming increase in what is normally a fall and winter virus. (CDC via AP)
Alaska Voices: What Alaskans need to know about RSV

By learning more about respiratory illnesses and taking helpful actions, we can all take steps to improve the situation

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Multiplying the power of every local dollar given

Each community foundation is a public charity that focuses on supporting a geographic area by pooling donations to meet community needs

The Homer Public Library as seen on Aug. 18, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. (File photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Point of View: Banning books corrodes diversity and inclusion in our community

Recently, a community member requested that a long list of books be removed from the children’s collection

Peninsula Oilers fans display encouragin signs for Oilers’ pitcher Bryan Woo, Friday, June 28, 2019, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Judging judges — balancing the judicial selection process

Alaska’s method of selecting judges can be and should be improved.

Sarah Palin speaks at a July 11 Save America Rally featuring former President Donald Trump at Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The realities of Palin’s political demise

Palin wouldn’t be running for the seat if Rep. Don Young was still alive

Former Democratic state Rep. Beth Kerttula holds up a sign reading “Vote No Con Con,” during a recent rally at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza in Juneau. Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: What can a liberal and conservative agree on? Voting against a constitutional convention

“We disagree on many issues. But we… urge Alaskans to vote against Proposition 1.”