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Unsung Heroes: Meet Some of Pennsylvania’s Poll Workers

September 12, 2019 04:00 PM
By: Staff

Unsung Heroes: Meet Some of Pennsylvania’s Poll Workers

​Poll workers are the unsung heroes of our democracy.  They are the friendly, helpful folks you see at your polling place every election day. They prepare polling places for voting and answer voters' questions so elections can run smoothly. 

To highlight poll workers' contributions as another election season approaches, we asked four of them from around the state to tell us why they work at the polls and what they like about the experience.

Below are their responses, edited for clarity and length.

Suzanne Fry 

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Lebanon County | Length of Service as a Poll Worker: 14 years

What brings me back each year is that I enjoy what I am doing. And Lebanon County has an informed and non-partisan Bureau of Elections and Voter Registration that I can count on for support and guidance if I need it. 

One reason to become a poll worker is it is fun. In my voting ward, Election Day is like a block party.  We see neighbors and sometimes their kids.  If we have time, we catch up on local happenings.  It is also gratifying knowing I am part of a system that guarantees each eligible voter's vote counts.

Right after I drop off the poll gear at the municipal building at the end of the day, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I know each vote cast in my voting ward is a legitimate one. I know my crew and I have helped our neighbors vote, and helped those who did not know where to vote find their correct voting places. And we do this without regard to the voter's political affiliation, religion, race or gender. I am proud of that.

Being an election official is important to me because I know first-hand the process works. And I help to assure it works.

Bill Rosson

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Bucks County | Length of Service as a Poll Worker: 11 years

Beyond civic responsibility and camaraderie with fellow poll workers, it is an excellent opportunity to participate in your community.  You are serving your neighbors and inspiring others to help, especially our youth.

My favorite part is helping my neighbors in the voting process, whether it be instructing a first-time voter on how to use the polling machine or resolving a registration issue or providing the set-up to assist a person with disabilities. It is rewarding to hear voters say "thank you for your service" after they have cast their vote.

Poll workers find the most satisfaction when we have a good voter turnout and know that our community has made their voices heard.

It is my way of doing my part to better our world.

Cherie DeBrest

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Philadelphia County | Length of Service as a Poll Worker: 1.5 year

I enjoy the work. I see the poll worker shortage, and how hard the leader of my team works, so this last primary election I brought my daughter along to observe and help. She is a high school senior. It was an eye-opening experience for her. She is 17 so she's not old enough to vote yet, but she will be better prepared when that time comes.

I consider working at the polls a way to make a huge impact by serving your neighbors and making sure they have free and unfettered access to exercise their right to vote. You are only committed to one day. It is a long day, but your service ends when the polls close that day.

As a Black woman in an urban area, I have quite a few opinions (criticisms) about the way elected officials and public servants serve their constituents. But I can't just criticize. I have to lend a hand. Registering people to vote and assisting them with exercising their vote on election day shows I have solutions as well as criticisms.

Amosizinna "Zinna" Scott

Allegheny County | Length of Service as a Poll Worker:  First year

The energy is so HIGH on election morning, with setting up the machines and placing people in their positions to work. You catch up on everyone's lives while getting coffee and doughnuts.

Being a poll worker allows you to better understand how elections work. It also allows you to go out before the next election and encourage people to vote. You see the importance of voting first-hand.

Learn More

Counties are always looking for more poll workers to serve on election day. For information on how to become a poll worker, visit votesPa.com/GetInvolved.


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