Roanoke poll worker retiring after 37 years of volunteering

Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 7:22 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As you head to the polls and fill out your ballot – you may be wondering who’s keeping your vote safe. They are volunteers from your community.

Officers of elections are critical to the electoral process.

“Someone has to keep things going like they’re supposed to,” said Raleigh Court Precinct Officer of Election Jane Smith.

Some of them have full-time jobs, many are retired, and others are veterans.

Smith has been a poll worker in Roanoke for 37 years. She signed up after hearing about the need when voting in 1986.

“We are charged that we do it safely. And we do it according to law. And so, it’s an important job,” explained Smith. “And besides, you get to see everybody in the smiles and it’s a beautiful day, and you’re helping the process without being in the process.”

It’s a time commitment. - with extensive training having to arrive at 4 in the morning on election day. Smith says they do it because they value the electoral process.

“Not everybody has the right to vote in other countries,” added Smith. “It is our given right to vote. It’s our opportunity to speak about how we feel. And so everyone should take advantage of that.”

As Smith gets ready to retire after this cycle, Chief Officer of Election Dan Callaghan says they will miss her.

“She is a superior resource for us. Even those this is her last one, we will still tap her knowledge to help us get through everything,” said Callaghan.

Smith encourages the younger generation to be involved.

“Be an educated voter,” said Smith. Know why you’re voting and what you’re voting for. And please vote.”

Polls in Virginia closed at 7 p.m.. Click here for the latest information.