In Service to Our Democracy

In Service to Our Democracy

Sharing their experience of working the polls on Election Day. From Left to Right: Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Anne Marie McDonald, Christina Barsch, Marie Romejko, Rebecca Trujillo.

"I can do this," thought Sister Rebecca Trujillo, SNDdeN, when she heard requests for volunteers to staff voting sites. "I did this with the Sisters when I lived in Arizona many years ago." Wondering who might go with her, she invited SIster Marie Romejko, SNDdeN. Ready for new adventures, Marie had considered volunteering. Although concerned about predictions of protests and violence, Marie accepted Rebecca's invitation.

With 20 other volunteers, they attended a training session at the Board of Elections in Cincinnati. After a fast-paced instructor explained how to use the voting equipment, validate voters, and assemble voting booths, they had to pass a test. An equal number of Democrat and Republican volunteers is needed at each voting site. Rebecca and Marie were sent to Harrison, Ohio, an hour from Mount Notre Dame. 

From 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Election Eve, they set up 20 voting booths and equipment. The site coordinator created a wonderful team spirit. A Democrat and a Republican always worked together as a team, and never talked politics. Two teams welcomed the voters, validated their information, and presented ballots. Another team showed voters how to scan their ballots. 

About 2000 people voted at this site. They were peaceful, polite and happy to vote. They applauded after first-time voters cast their ballots. From 7:30 p.m. when the polls closed, until 9:00 p.m. volunteers took down the booths and packed the equipment. Ballots were counted by machines. The number of ballots given out had to match the number used. Any irregularity was recorded in a notebook.

Both Sisters Rebecca and Marie felt stretched out by this experience. After a long an unpredictable day, they felt great satisfaction. 

Written by Sister Rita Sturwold, SNDdeN, first published in the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur U.S. eNewsletter, December 2022 - January 2023, Vol. 13. No. 9.