Show appreciation, cast a vote

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Barry County completed another successful general election on April 2. I know that not all voters were happy with the election outcomes, but they can rest assured that the integrity of each and every one of their votes was maintained. The latest general election was the last one I will cover as editor of the Cassville Democrat. With that in mind, I wanted to use this week's editorial to recognize some of the individuals and groups who work to ensure each election is conducted successfully.

First and foremost, Barry County Clerk Gary Youngblood and his staff spend countless hours preparing for each election. Not only do they begin issuing press releases regarding voter registration and absentee voting months before the election is conducted, but they complete required pre-election tabulation tests and come into their office the Saturday before the election to make sure each vote is counted accurately and each voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot. This year, the county clerk's office even encouraged area residents with mobility issues to cast an absentee ballot prior to the April 2 election.

Numerous election workers across the county volunteer to spend election day at the polls, checking identification and voter registration cards, handing out ballots and distributing election day stickers. These men and women are available to assist voters, ensure campaigning remains the proper distance from polling sites and gather the election equipment and completed ballots for transport to the Barry County Courthouse in Cassville after the polls close at 7 p.m.

Local Boy Scouts are on-hand at the courthouse each election night to assist election workers in carrying election equipment and ballots into the county clerk's office. These young men also open doors and greet courthouse visitors who gather outside the clerk's office to await election results.

John Sullivan trades in his Cassville School Board president hat to act as a messenger each election night. Sullivan collects election results as they are obtained from each voting jurisdiction and delivers the numbers to those waiting in the courthouse lobby. Last week, I watched as Sullivan read numbers for a large crowd interested in the outcome of the county tax issue and deliver copies of election results to school officials interested in learning the fate of area board elections. Sullivan does an excellent job of keeping all interested community members well informed throughout the evening.

Only 3,514 voters cast ballots on April 2, yet there are 19,990 registered voters in our county. I hope that this week's editorial will remind area residents that voting is a right that should be exercised. Casting a ballot takes such a small amount of time, but it would be a good way to show appreciation for the work put into conducting local elections.

Lindsay Reed