Lebanon, TN – Wilson County Poll Officials gathered Wednesday, May 11th, at Fiddlers Grove for a lunch to thank them for their service during the 2020 elections and to honor those poll officials that are veterans.
Over 350 Wilson County voters are recruited, trained and serve as poll officials at the five early voting sites and the 18 vote centers on Election Day each election. In 2020, voters were greeted at the polls by their smiling neighbors who were working to make the voting experience in Wilson County the best it could be.
The voting experience was challenged in March of 2020 by the devastating tornado that struck in the early morning hours of Election Day. In the wake of the storm, two vote centers were unusable and 10 others were without power. Poll officials fully staffed the vote centers and successfully allowed voters to cast their ballots in less than ideal conditions. The training and preparation of Wilson County poll officials was apparent from the competence and confidence they exhibited on that challenging day.
The August and November elections presented their own unique challenges in the form of COVID-19 precautions and the tensions surrounding a Presidential election. Procedures were instituted for voting in August and November that protected the poll officials, voters and the integrity of every vote cast. Poll officials took great care during Early Voting and on Election Day to closely follow the pandemic related safety protocols. Their efforts provided a safe environment for voting that encouraged 83% of those voting in the Presidential election to vote at one of the five Early Voting sites.
“We cannot adequately express our gratitude to these special men and women that make elections in Wilson County so good. Their smiles, competency and commitment to fair and honest elections are inspiring. This event is a way for us to say thank you to them for all they do for elections and our county.” said Assistant Administrator of Elections Tammy Smith.
Those attending the event were entertained by a fellow poll official Tim Smith of Mt Juliet. Smith is an accomplished performer and songwriter having recorded 11 albums and playing with Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Crystal Gayle among others. He and his wife, Cindi, have been poll officials at the Charlie Daniels Park polling site for many years.
Special guest Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State, spoke to the group about elections in Tennessee and the nation. Secretary Hargett observed that voters in Tennessee were committed to voting in person as evidenced by the record turnout across the state during Early Voting and on Election Day despite the pandemic. He expressed that the dedication, training and support of poll officials made the elections of 2020 successful in Wilson County and in Tennessee.
Larry Green, a Wilson County poll official and longtime Boy Scout volunteer, made a moving presentation to every poll official in attendance who was a veteran. Green said, “Without the service of those called to serve in armed forces since the founding of this nation, the elections we celebrate today would not be possible.” The Boy Scouts have a program that honorably retires used American flags. As a way of expressing what the flag symbolizes and of honoring the service of our veterans, stars removed from retired flags are ceremonially presented to veterans. The veterans present were thanked individually by Green.
“Wilson County poll officials have eagerly mastered the technology and procedures necessary to successfully administer every election. 2020 demanded a special kind of person to rise to the challenges of the tornado, the pandemic and a record turnout in November. Words cannot express our gratitude to these poll officials that continue to make elections in Wilson County the best they can be.” Said Phillip Warren, Administrator of Elections.
There are no elections scheduled for 2021.
Phillip Warren, Administrator of Elections, said “We encourage anyone interested in the upcoming elections or with questions about running for office, elections or voting to contact us. Our website, www.WilsonVotes.com is a great resource for voters and candidates.”
To learn more about elections, voting and how you can be involved with Wilson County elections contact the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216 or online at www.WilsonVotes.com.