Decades of experience help 2020 primary
New and old workers helped promote free and fair elections Tuesday.
Election officials with 40 years of experience worked alongside people in their first year throughout Marshall County during the 2020 primary.
At West Marshall Middle School in State Center voters from Clemons, Melbourne, Rhodes, St. Anthony and State Center who cast their vote were assisted by Betty Brush, 86, of State Center and Leah Mosher, 19, of Liscomb.
This is Brush’s 40th year working as an election official. The first election she volunteered to help in was 1980 and it saw former President Ronald Reagan beat former President Jimmy Carter.
“They just needed somebody to work and I said ‘I’ll try it,'” Brush said.
On the other end of the spectrum this is Mosher’s first year working as an election official.
Mosher’s grandma used to work at a polling location in Liscomb, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic she decided not to participate. Mosher volunteered in her place.
Voting is important to Brush because it is both a privilege and a right.
“I wouldn’t think of not voting,” she said.
For Mosher, she sees voting as an obligation to veterans and service members who have fought for the freedoms she enjoys.
“I currently have a friend who just got deployed, so it’s extra special to me,” Mosher said.
In Marshalltown, David Shearer, 58 and David Blom, 22, both from Marshalltown, were helping voters from Albion, Liscomb and Marshalltown’s First and Second wards along with the Taylor township area vote in the 2020 primary at the Marshalltown Public Library.
Shearer has worked most of the elections in Marshalltown, and one in Liscomb, during the last 40 years. He started when he was 18 in 1980.
“When I started we used lever machines and there were only two,” Shearer said. “You’d need to crank the old machines and crawl on the floor and make sure everything has zeros on it.”
He’s worked at most of Marshalltown’s polling locations throughout the years and a variety of different schools and community centers.
He’s seen voting technology change during the years making it easier and easier to vote.
“The computer has been the best thing to have happened,” he said.
This is the first election Blom’s volunteered to help with, but not his first time voting. He cast his first ballot in 2016.
“I saw my neighbors had done it for years, and it was nice to know people when I came,” Blom said.
Like Mosher, voting is important to Blom.
“Having your voice heard is more than a cliche,” he said. “It means that everyone is included in the process and everyone has a chance to input who speaks for them and who makes the laws.”
Most of the officials plan to continue working as an election official in the coming years.
“I don’t know how long I’ll keep doing it,” Brush said. “As long as I’m able.”
Contact Thomas Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org