When Marcella Mohn of Hillsboro entered the United Methodist Church polling center Tuesday morning, she knew she would not be coming out until the election was complete. One of the rules polling volunteers must follow is that they are sworn in the morning of the election and cannot leave the center until the ballots are compiled and handed over to the county chairperson.
Mohn has served as a voter volunteer for more years than she can remember, but enjoys each experience because of the people she gets to meet.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Mohn said. “I like being around a lot of people, meeting and greeting them, and just being part of something important.”
While workers are not supposed to visit with each other when people come in, check their names, and sign up to vote, Mohn said time passed quickly on election day.
“We have to be there at 6:30 in the morning to get set up, sworn in, and ready for the voters,” Mohn said. “A lot of times there will be a line of people waiting to get in and vote before they need to get to work.”
Mohn said when she first started working with election boards, the volunteers had to count and tabulate votes, often not completing their work until 10 p.m. or later.
“We still have to compile the results and check in the returns,” she said. “But it doesn’t take as long as it used to.”
Mohn said workers sometimes brought snacks to eat on their own, or they ordered out from a nearby restaurant for lunch.
“It’s always nice to get a hot lunch brought in, so I enjoy when we do that,” she said.
Some years election turnout is not high; then the volunteers must find ways to pass the time.
“We always find something to visit about,” Mohn said.
With this year being a presidential election, Mohn expected a steady turnout.
“We don’t have any local issues to vote on,” she said. “But presidential elections tend to bring out the people.”
Mohn said one of the most interesting election issues she could remember was when citizens of Hillsboro voted on the construction of a swimming pool.
“I had children at that time, so I was all for it,” she said. “I remember that we offered rides to people so we could get them to the polls. We couldn’t tell them how to vote, but we did everything we could to get people in to vote.”
Since her husband died a few years ago, Mohn said she tried to pay more attention to how candidates stood on issues.
“I used to depend on him when it came time to make a voting decision,” she said. “But now I like to consider the issues and be aware of what is going on.”
Mohn said equality between Democrats and Republicans was important in the mix of voter volunteers, another rule from the county chair.
“There are usually four of us serving all day,” she said. “It has to be an equal mix of Democrats and Republicans so sometimes it is hard to find those who can be there all day and fit the requirements.”
Mohn plans to be on hand for more election days in the future.
“I don’t mind that we can’t leave the building all day,” she said. “It’s an important job and I enjoy doing it.”