For those of us who voted Tuesday — or during the early voting period — the process probably seemed easy.
And, for us, it was.
But for the Sampson County Board of Elections staff and the volunteers who helped make Election 2012 run smoothly, it was far less than easy.
In fact, it was extremely hard work. Even more so this year because of Tuesday’s tremendous turnout and the overwhelming number of people who cast ballots early.
Not that anyone’s complaining. It was, in fact, what elections staffers had hoped for — a good turnout and an easy time for voters.
Both were accomplished.
It is to the credit of people like Board of Elections director Donna Marshburn and her capable staff that the process went smoothly, and that candidates, political parties and voters were satisfied.
That’s no easy task, but Marshburn, her staff and the three-member Board of Elections met the challenge head-on and achieved something that isn’t always that easily accomplished in an election season.
What many don’t know is that for the Board of Elections staff, the election doesn’t begin with the registration period and end after votes are cast. In fact, it’s a never-ending cycle that merely escalates during the election season. It’s long hours, tedious paperwork, thousands of telephone calls and dozens upon dozens of questions that need to be answered.
If Tuesday was any indication, the task was gargantuan for the elections folks, but one they handled impeccably. On election day, alone, we bet the staff handled over a thousand phone calls and dozens of residents who inadvertently showed up at their office to cast a ballot rather than their precinct.
No matter the question, and no matter how many times they were asked when polls closed, where a person voted or if they could register and then vote, the staff fielded each question professionally and courteously, a remarkable task considering the intense work load they were carrying and the extreme stress of the day.
Yet they handled it with great grace and, what’s more, they did so while working to get ballots counted on on electronic screens so residents could view them from the county offices or the comforts of their own home.
We thank Marshburn, her staff and the dozens of volunteers for making this election so smooth and for making it appear as if they just snapped their fingers and made everything fall into place.
We know that’s not the way it works — we know the time put in, the sacrifices made, the determination to have everything right and running smoothly — but we thank them for all the hard work they did to make it so easy for voters.
That, too, should have a big impact the next time around.