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Woodley: Thanks to election team, voters for job well done in challenging year | COMMENTARY

During my time serving as a polling location voting judge, chief judge, and now as a member of the Carroll County Board of Elections, I have never been prouder being a member of our Carroll County Election Team.

Our right to cast a vote, as American citizens, is sacred. Personally, I would claim it as one of my most important, valued rights as an American. There is immense work behind the scenes to provide all eligible American voters the chance to exercise their right, whether in-person or by mail-in ballot.

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This year providing the election services to our eligible voters was five times the challenge of a normal, pre-COVID-19, election cycle due to the pandemic. What’s even more amazing is our voting process is always a complete bipartisan effort from ballot collection to ballot canvassing. No mail-in ballot is cast without bipartisan eyes.

I would like to thank our election director (Katherine Berry) and deputy director (Paula Troxell), who have provided efficient and effective leadership through such a tumultuous time when they had to account for many concerns that were so far outside of the normal election considerations: Masks, sanitizing, social distancing, voter tools (pens, stickers), vote-anywhere vote centers, and much more. They led the election team through very long weeks of work, for months and often more than five days, to ensure the eligible voters could cast their vote in safe and secure environments while keeping office and vote center morale at positive levels.

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Thanks to all of our voting judges, especially our chief judges, that worked early voting through Election Day. They all put themselves on the line during the pandemic to provide voting services to their fellow Carroll countians. Early voting through Election Day are 15-hour work days for the election judges.

Thanks to my fellow Board of Elections members as we joined in for extra duties by collecting and securing mail-in ballots, with two-person bipartisan teams, from the drop boxes and directly delivering them to the Elections Office, seven days a week, through closing time on Election Day. The board is led by Griffith B. Manahan (board president) and Laura O’Callaghan (board vice president) along with members Sam Foster and Harvey Tegeler.

Big thanks to local law enforcement starting with our Carroll County Sheriff’s Department to Hampstead, Manchester, and Westminster Police Departments. Our local law enforcement made certain that all Carroll countians could perform their duties, responsibilities, and voting rights in a safe and secure manner.

Thank you to my fellow Carroll countians who did not allow anything to get in your way to cast a ballot: not cold weather, not rain, not long lines, and not a pandemic. Thank you for your patience, fortitude, and support in allowing the Carroll County election team to provide a safe and secure way to vote for all who took part in the voting process.

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The team never questioned going above and beyond for its fellow Carroll countians. That willingness to positively go above and beyond for our fellow citizen is what we need to focus on as Americans moving forward. I know one thing to be true; the Carroll County election team has your back!

John Woodley is the board secretary for the Carroll County Board of Elections.

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