n awful lot went wrong during the 2020 election.
Or so you’ve been hearing.
The fact is 2020 has been a grind in a lot of ways, and in a lot of ways the election was in fact exhausting. In North Carolina congressional lines and quite a few General Assembly lines were redrawn, meaning in some cases voters had to re-educate themselves as to who they’d be able to vote for. Lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit had us scrambling to figure out what the rules would be, whether we’d have to have photo ID, etc. COVID threw a pall over the whole affair, and problems with the U.S. Postal Service and wild claims about fraud had voters on edge.
A lot went wrong.
But you know, an awful lot went right. Much more, in fact.
A lot of credit for that goes to voters. They kept up with the district changes, the rule changes, the changing dates of various races, the very real threat of wading out into a pandemic for the chance to vote, and they turned out in legions. In some places they had to stand in line for hour upon hour, and, not to be denied, they did.
A lot of credit goes to the folks that never get it but richly deserve it, poll workers and elections officials. In these increasingly contentious times most polling places were seas of calm and civility.
No one ever got rich being a poll worker. Instead, poll workers tend by their nature to be civic-minded people who treat their task with the integrity and respect it deserves. These folks also, it should be noted, were playing something of a game of roulette with their health, but knew the risks and did so anyway. The motivations of helping keep free and fair elections available to voters were, in their view, worth the stakes. Simply put, they’re true believers in the process that began with the founding of a nation based on government by the people and for the people.
Bless them all.
And finally we come to the elections professionals, and in the case of Jackson County were are fortunate to have a seasoned crew that understands the legalese and technical challenges that come with every election.
Kirk Stephens, current chair of the Jackson County Board of Elections, said, “Jackson County is very lucky to have such a dedicated Board of Elections office, led by Elections Director Lisa Lovedahl. All of our staff have been working overtime to ensure a smooth election for voters. This year, in particular, they have gone to great lengths to provide social distancing, and sanitation guidelines related to COVID-19.
“Lisa Lovedahl is well-known throughout North Carolina through her involvement in the North Carolina Association of Directors of Elections. On multiple occasions, Lisa and her staff have been recognized for innovating the election process on the local level with projects related to training poll workers, election-day communications updates and customer service.”
The county also has a stable of experienced poll workers who have handled the extraordinary challenges of 2020 with their usual grace and professionalism. Stephens said, “On behalf of the Board of Elections, I would like to express our appreciation for all of our part-time employees and poll workers. The poll workers, many of whom are seniors, work long days and provide excellent customer service to Jackson County’s voters.”
Did everything go perfectly in this election? Of course not. In a political equation where voters are supposed to pick their leaders there still isn’t enough participation and there are still plenty of voters who wind up being disenfranchised in this nation. In every election there are lessons that can be learned and solutions that can be proposed.
But we did get a lot right, especially here in Jackson. Let’s not lose sight of the hard work, professionalism and dedication that makes that possible.