By: Donald S. Conkey
A TV station we watch has a slogan that reads “See the good in the world today.” I ponder that slogan every morning as I prepare for the new day. I even ask the Lord to help me to be a part of the good in the world. This thought renews my faith in America and in our community of Towne Lake.
When I look for the good in the world I can see it all around me – mostly from people not making the headlines. These are the people who make our local community function and make them a wonderful place to raise a family. Far too few take the time to even look for the good, let alone to see the good that surrounds us.
For example most of us saw the ugliness in the election held this week – but how many of us saw the good in this election. Believe me, there was plenty of good to see. The good I saw in this election was that we Americans had the opportunity to go into a voting booth and cast a ballot for the candidate of our choice – many in the world don’t have this opportunity. Another good: the voter turnout was 36 percent of the registered voters or 46 percent of the 124,000 active voters. This shows that the people are involved and concerned about who their elected leaders will be, and have accepted their duty as citizens to be involved in the selection of their leaders.
Another example of good: How many voters noticed those people manning the polling precincts? They don’t make the headlines but yet they are essential to the integrity of America’s form of government. How many voters realize that these poll workers put in 16 hour days to serve them, and for the poll managers it’s even a longer day? In 1996 Linda Parker invited Joan and me to become poll workers in her precinct. Then we were asked to manage the Sutalle precinct and later to manage the Bascomb precinct nearer home. Joan has now served the county for 15 continuous years, with others serving equally as long, maybe longer, like Linda Parker.
I now watch Joan as she prepares for each election. The process has changed dramatically since we first began working with Linda Parker – the rules Joan has to follow keeps growing. She has to find a staff to operate the polls. Then she has to arrange for her staff to go through a training class before each election – a training process overseen by Janet Munda, the county director of the election office. Even the elections office has changed dramatically over the last 15 years, changing to adhere to the ever changing state and federal laws that govern the election process.
The routine for each election, big or small, is: The county tells Joan how many workers she can have; she contacts her regulars to see it they are still interested, reports back to the election office, sets up a training schedule for each worker, and sees that each worker receives their training. On the Sunday before each election we drive to Canton to pick up a car load of signs and other boxes necessary for each precinct to function. Then Joan reviews this material, lugs it into the house for protection and sits down in front of the TV and listens several times to an elections office produced DVD to remind herself of the guidelines she is required by law to follow. She visits Bascomb school several times to make sure everything is ready and then goes to the store to buy food – each workers brings snacks because once the polls are open the workers are not allowed to leave. On election morning she rises at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to for a long election day, heads to the precinct, opens it, declares the polls are open at 7 a.m., and then makes sure everything is functioning, and answers questions from voters who are a little unsure of the voting process. At 7 p.m. she declares the polls closed, posts a worker at the end of any voting line, waits for everyone in line to vote and then dismantles and carries to Canton, with a sheriff’s escort, the vote tally of her precinct, arriving home about 10 p.m. A long day of service by one of about 350 Cherokee volunteers who serve the voters of Cherokee County in 42 precincts every election day.
That’s seeing the good in our community!