WESTWOOD and SUMMIT “Here’s another schoolmate!” Jackie Cannoy said gleefully.
She and the voter shared an embrace before the Westwood resident turned to a nearby person and said, “You know, she’s always been beautiful; all these years.”
“That,” Cannoy said, “makes it all worthwhile.”
Cannoy and Ken Downs, although in their early 80s, were bright-eyed and peppy on Tuesday morning as voters steadily moved in and out of the Buckley precinct in Fairview High School’s George Cooke Memorial Gymnasium.
The duo is usually a trio, though. Cannoy fielded several questions about Carolyn Trimble, who is usually a fellow election officer. She wasn’t there on Tuesday. Newcomer Shawn May was manning the table as Cannoy and Downs made sure everyone received ballots and stickers.
Cannoy and Downs have been election officers for 30-plus years. What keeps them invested?
“If we didn’t do it, what would happen?” Cannoy said. “We’ve got to do this, like we got to get out and vote because if we weren’t out here doing this, there wouldn’t be anybody out here taking care of the votes. It’s our civic duty, and that’s what we do.”
Downs’s wife, Hilma, used to work elections, which piqued his interest.
Downs and Cannoy both said they enjoy catching up with voters.
“The whole Westwood/Fairview section is right here in this building,” Downs said. “It’s kinda like a school reunion. You see old schoolmates and friends.”
Since 2000, Cannoy has volunteered once a week — every Monday — at King’s Daughters Medical Center, her employer until 1997. She is involved in projects and events at her church, Westwood Christian, as well — she cleans the sanctuary, too.
“These kinds of things keep me going,” Cannoy said.
While many recent elections have yielded poor voter turnout, Downs is encouraged by loyal American citizens who enter the gym doors.
“People just won’t vote, but here are these people in wheelchairs, and some of them are coming in on crutches, limping. They want to vote. It is encouraging.”
Downs and Cannoy undergo training classes annually. Officers are paid $70 to do training and $130 or their Election Day work.
“It’s a long day,” Cannoy said. “We came in at 5. Ken and I take the stuff to Catlettsburg (after polls close at 6), so we get home at 7:30. But we love it.”
Boyd County’s Barbaras
Barbara Caudill, a Boyd County election officer judge, has worked the elections for the past 16 years.
As a judge, Caudill said it’s her responsibility to assist both people with handicaps or additional needs, as well as being trained in multiple roles to jump in whenever a clerk or another election officer needs assistance.
“It's just something that I enjoy doing,” said Caudill.
Caudill said she’s seen many changes over 16 years.
“It's now more efficient I think,” said Caudill. “The process goes smoothly. They give us good instructions and training to do the job we do.”
Caudill said she’s seen various turnouts for different elections.
“(The last presidential) election was the most hectic I’ve ever worked in,” said Caudill. “There was a lot of young adults.”
Caudill said she believes next year's presidential election will also be “record-breaking” and she intends to work then as well.
“I just like working for the community,” said Caudill. “I enjoy people and basically trying to give back to my community.”
Caudill said one of her favorite parts of working the elections is working with the public.
“They’re happy, or content, to be able to come out and vote,” said Caudill. “I think they appreciate us trying to be helpful, and show them what’s going on. They appreciate our help. Some of them have even thanked us for doing this.”
Caudill said that she's happy to get to know voters, and for them to get to know her as well.
“They don't look for their precincts, they look for us,” said Caudill.
Barbara Padgett, a Boyd County clerk, has worked the elections for the past 25 years.
Padgett said her responsibilities as the clerk are to ensure the voting roster is signed and properly maintained, as well as oversee clerical operations.
“I’ve been the clerk for years,” said Padgett. “It’s fun.”
Padgett said her love of working with the community through police work and volunteerism sparked her interest in election work.
“I just love to volunteer,” said Padgett.
Padgett said she is passionate about citizens exercising their right to vote.
“It’s important that you get out and vote,” said Padgett. “I love when they bring out their kids and get them excited about it.”
Padgett said she loves seeing voters come exercise their right after turning 18.
“They get really excited about it,” Padgett said.
Padgett said she would urge those who didn’t vote to make it to future elections.
Barbara Hall, a sheriff, has worked the elections for the past 20 years after her parents inspired her to take an interest in politics.
“My mom did this for almost 50 years,” said Hall. “I started working in the precinct she was in.”
Hall said it was a unique experience to work the elections with her mother.
“We worked together for a few years,” Hall said.
Hall said her father worked as the Boyd County chairman.
“I probably wouldn't have started if my mom hadn't been already working them,” said Hall. “I’m a lot like them.”
Hall said her responsibility as the sheriff is to ensure that there is no electioneering taking place at the polls, or any problematic situations.
“We also have a sheriff’s report to fill out,” said Hall. “Anything that goes on we will put in that report.”
Hall said she’s seen several changes take place over the past 20 years.
“When I first started there was just paper ballots,” said Hall. “Now we’ve got the machines.”
Hall said Boyd County Clerk Debbie Jones has made significant improvements to the election process.
“She keeps us informed,” said Hall. “Debbie has made so many improvements for the workers.”
Hall said she has only missed one election over the past 20 years, due to a surgery.
“I've always worked them,” said Hall.