On August 6, across 82 counties hundreds of poll workers arrived at the polls around 6 a.m.
These workers would then for the next 14 to 15 hours answers questions, smooth over feelings, check ids, mark in the books and overall help voters (some of whom were very agitated by the type of party primaries we have, instead of a single ballot election, but that is a column for another day).
The polling places I visited had inadequate or nonexistent air conditioning and depended on big fans to attempt to stay comfortable in the Mississippi heat.
When the voting was completed at 7 p.m., poll workers were not done. They continued their work. They checked off the books for absentee balloting and had those ballots counted.
These poll workers put in the time and energy to help administer an election that helps ensure our democracy. When you consider all of the work that goes into preparing voting locations, serving voters and then properly closing polling places, their accomplishments are quite impressive.
Poll workers must enjoy being part of one of the most important roles in democracy: Voting. They do not get paid enough for it to be for the money—it does not even equal minimum wage when divided by the number of hours they serve.
They are your neighbors who devote not just an election day to this endeavor but training days and other parts of their life. They come from all walks of life and backgrounds and absolutely do understand the important role elections play in all of our lives.
Their service to democracy should remind all us of President Abraham Lincoln’s words: "A government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Assisting a voter during our elections is one of the most important responsibilities of our free society. So, the poll workers who battle the heat, agitated voters, apathetic voters and much more for very little pay deserve a big “thank you” and definitely not the slightest derision on social media.
I do encourage everyone to thank the poll workers and each of us might think about working at the polls, since each poll worker is helping the foundation of our democracy remain intact.
Editor’s note: Joseph McCain is the publisher of The Choctaw Plaindealer, The Webster Progress Times and Winston County Journal. He maybe reached at newsroom@winston countyjournal.com or 662-803-5236.