Election day arrives this year amid heightened debates and disputes about the voting process.
But it is a process that always depends on volunteers to work at polling places and count votes.
It’s certainly a concern this year with the added scrutiny in our election system: Are we seeing less people working the polling places? Are we seeing less candidates?
“We have some precincts where there solely write in races and whoever gets the most write ins will win the job,” explained Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe. “But we have hundreds of races this year and that show democracy is working.”
Centre County administrators this year again set up a special site to tabulate mail-in ballots.
About 9,200 mail-in this year.
Volunteers first go through special training.
Susan Werner is one of the volunteers.
“I think it’s important that every vote counts,” explained Werner. “Mail-in voting has given more people access to voting.”
The number of mail-ins are not nearly as high as last year with the presidential election.
Plus, there’s a return to mail-in voting.
“The pandemic, we’re seeing the number of cases going down, plus more people wanting to vote directly.”
Most of the volunteers do have a common motivator – they want to be involved in one of our country’s fundamental features. Betsy Gamble is one of them.
“I’m doing this because I believe in democracy,” said Gamble. “I know a lot of people who have been doing this and working polling places for years.”
Centre County has just over 105,000 registered voters for this election.