On Friday, May 15th the Supervisor of Elections van was spotted leaving the lot at 7:30 am. Traveling NE on US 17, headed out of town, Office Manager Sandy Wharton with Poll Worker Coordinators Diane and Bonnie in tow were on their way to attend an invitational event hosted by our friends in Polk County.
An “idea-sharing workshop” for poll worker coordinators was well attended and well worth the travel. Upon arrival in Bartow, at the Polk County Elections Office http://www.polkelections.com/, they were warmly greeted and given a name button. This was the first of many ideas shared, a reusable appreciation gift given out to poll workers. This button allowed poll workers to display their name for the voters along with the message “Serving Our Community Proudly”. These buttons are a tangible way to thank poll workers for their dedicated commitment to the Supervisors office and the community in which they live.
In attendance were seventeen counties represented by 43 elections’ personnel from Alachua to Volusia County. All were previously asked, to bring examples of best practices from their respective counties. These examples could include poll worker applications, training manuals, quizzes and other materials, precinct forms, or even vendor information on especially effective polling place supplies.
Morning presentations incorporated online training from various disciplines including a view at some innovative websites. Other tools included training videos and power point presentations that can be used as effective alternatives to the online training modalities. Lunch was enjoyed by all, provided by Havana Delights Café, a local and very popular regional restaurant. The break allowed for comingling and networking amongst peers. Afternoon presentations covered recruitment, retention, which included various appreciation events and the sharing of best practices. Wrapping up the day with an open forum of Q&A and review of a bag filled with the examples that had been submitted by participants was most beneficial.
The return trip found the three ladies engaged in open discussion, reflecting upon the variety of tools presented and the ways some could be applied or adapted to fit in Charlotte County. In an effort to comply with stringent budgetary guidelines the Poll Worker Coordinators have their work cut out for them, but, energized by the sharing of ideas, they found a renewed sense of encouragement to pull together.
Using the tools presented, adapting as cost-effectively as possible, and continuing the networking has invigorated the team. “This is a great opportunity to hear about current practices across the state, and brainstorm new ideas for 2010.” Polk County we thank you, and as Charlotte County Poll Workers we look forward to enhancing our Best Practices, introducing new concepts and most of all recognizing the profound impact each poll worker has upon this office and the community we serve.
At 4:30 pm the Supervisor of Elections van returned with its staff energized, invigorated and ready to apply their new- found knowledge and tools. There have been rumors of a possible reunion of attendees here in Charlotte County. Stay tuned and by all means let us know if you have any ideas or interest in getting involved. We are always on the lookout for a fresh approach, renewed vision and energized, civic-minded participants!
Feel free to contact our offices, 941-833-5400 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put poll worker in the subject line. Finally be sure to look around further on our website www.charlottevotes.comas we are working hard at keeping it fresh and updated.
Don’t forget that our doors are open to the public during regular working hours. We invite you to come in, tour our facilities and meet with a Poll Worker Coordinator or the Supervisor of Elections, Hon. Paul A. Stamoulis to share your thoughts. Our Poll Workers are the Gatekeepers of Democracy and we appreciate you. It is because of you that we are out and about learning as much as we can to improve our best practices here in Charlotte County.