The Punxsutawney Spirit

Poll workers the glue that holds election day together

- By Larry McGuire Of The Spirit

PUNXSUTAWN­EY — There was a light turnout for the May 17 primary election at the Punxsutawn­ey polling places on Tuesday.

When you go and vote, you don’t think about the work that goes into getting the precinct ready for voters.

Jean Shaw, poll worker, said the polls open at 7 a.m., so she has to be at the precinct no later than 6 a.m. in order to get everything ready.

Shaw said she unlocks the door, turns on the lights and begins setting up for the day, starting with the privacy cubicles.

Lynn Porada said she has to run three tapes of zero votes in the vote counting machine.

“I have to turn on the actual vote counting machine, and I have to run three tapes of zero ballots,” Porada said.

Shaw said the voting machine and the ballots aren’t delivered until the night before.

“We have all this paperwork that we have to complete when we’re done, and we take it to Brookville and they have to run the tape there and it has to match up with what

they have in the books,” Shaw said.

Porada said that it makes for a long but interestin­g day.

Porada said anyone campaignin­g outside the polling place has to be a certain distance away.

“We have to make sure when people are in the building that they’re not discussing the election,” Porada said, adding that they have been the only two poll workers at Punxsutawn­ey No. 2 for the last several elections.

Shaw said the total number of voters as of 5 p.m. at Punxsutawn­ey Two, was 53 Democrats and 143 Republican­s.

Porada said that for the presidenti­al election or other high-profile contests, they see as many as 600 voters at their precinct.

If you’d like to be a poll worker for the November general election, check in at the county commission­ers’ office on the second floor of Jefferson Place in Brookville during regular business hours.

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