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The Precious Right to Vote


Have you ever lived in a country where you did NOT have the right to vote?  No control at all over how you are governed or where your taxes are spent?  Or how much you pay in taxes?   Or if you’re even safe?  Well both Enrique and I have, and it makes us appreciate so much more the right we have to elect our government (even if we don’t always agree with the winners, we have our say).  When I lived in Argentina, there was a military Junta in place and NO ONE had a vote.  I wasn’t a citizen anyway so I relied on Enrique to make those decisions.  Then, when we moved back to the US, Enrique had no vote until he became a citizen and had to rely on my votes.


Now, I work at every election in Henderson County … not for a particular candidate or party, but for the Board of Elections, to make sure that as many people as possible have the right and opportunity to express their wishes IN PRIVATE in a safe and secure polling place.  Let me tell you something about what we do to ensure that your ballot counts.

 

We’ll start with the voter rolls, which list all of the people who are registered to vote in Henderson County, with their address, precinct, and stated party affiliation (Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, No-Name, or Unaffiliated).  Addresses for new registrations are confirmed by mailing two voter registration cards to the address.  If they are returned to the post office, then the registration is marked inactive until the voter can provide proof with a utility bill or other official mail with their name and address on it.  This year, besides confirming name and address, every voter will be required to show a photo ID before receiving a ballot.  If there are issues with a person’s registration, they can still vote provisionally, and their ballot is counted once the issues have been resolved.  

 

All of us who work are required to attend the appropriate training classes before every election, to make sure we’re up-to-date on any changes since the last election.  Every step of the process is observed by at least two people - and those people must be from different party affiliations.  That includes those of us who go into nursing homes and assisted living facilities to assist with absentee ballot requests and registration changes for residents.  It even includes two people in different automobiles who transport the tallies back to the board of elections at the end of election day.  And it includes any recounts of ballots.  During a recount, there are there are two teams of two people who do the recounts.  I’m amazed at the security and transparency involved.


I’m amazed at the security and transparency involved... It’s nice to work with people you know are registered differently than you and to know that you still like them, respect them, and get along.

Here in Henderson County, we have a wonderful and caring group of people who work long, long hours to ensure maximum accessibility and maximum transparency with minimum chaos — before, during, and after our election season.  It’s nice to work with people you know are registered differently than you and to know that you still like them, respect them, and get along.  Of course, we all are “non-partisan” while we’re working.  No politics allowed!  New team members are always needed.  If you’ve ever considered working at the polls, now’s the time.  Contact the Board of Elections office today!

 

AND BE SURE TO VOTE IN THE UPCOMING PRIMARY!   Early voting at the Board of Elections headquarters on Central Street (off Spartanburg Highway) begins on Thursday, February 15, and election day is Tuesday, March 6.  See you at the polls!


 

More things to learn and ways to help!




 

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