June 16, 2021

Offering Thanks, Praise to Those Who Worked to Implement Primary Election

To the Editor:

Speaking to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday, June 11, Attorney General Merrick Garland affirmed voting rights as a “central pillar” to American democracy, stating, “We know that expanding the ability of all eligible citizens to vote is a central pillar…. That means ensuring that all eligible voters can cast a vote; that all lawful votes are counted; and that every voter has access to accurate information.”

On Tuesday, June 8, I had the privilege and opportunity to participate in this pillar of democracy as a citizen poll worker for one of the voting districts in Princeton. As this was my first time serving in this role, it was extremely insightful to witness a slice of the voting process from the inside, beginning with attending a two-hour poll-worker training session a few weeks ago, to picking up the supplies and documents at the Municipal Clerk’s Office for my assigned voting district before dawn on Tuesday morning, assisting with voting procedures throughout the day through the closing process, and then returning the supplies and secured documents and provisional ballots to the Clerk’s Office late Tuesday evening. Woven through all of this is an intricate web of voting rights and ballot security laws and procedures with checks and balances, all to ensure that this “central pillar” of American democracy stands, right here in Princeton and throughout Mercer County and New Jersey.

Furthermore, I would like to express gratitude and praise for all those individuals in the Mercer County Board of Elections office and their colleagues throughout New Jersey who worked together to implement our June 8 primary, as well as the numerous other citizen poll workers who stepped up to make this election possible. Especially praiseworthy was the master board worker (citizen board worker with over 10 years of poll worker experience) who patiently worked with me, as a first-time poll worker, along with those at other polling districts throughout the day.

As a final note, if you are interested in serving as a poll worker for the General Election in November, you can sign up now at pollworker.nj.gov. Most of all, if you are eligible, be sure to register and VOTE.

Collene Mildes
Meadow Woods Lane, Lawrence