Barbara DeVries: Get involved |

Barbara DeVries: Get involved

In the early 1960s, with a husband and three active boys, I went to a caucus and suddenly I became an election judge. I was firmly hooked on the political process then as I am now.

In 1968, we moved to Routt County and I contacted the county clerk, offering my services and was asked to report at 8 a.m. on election day. What a strange time, I thought, voting begins at 7 a.m. I arrived and was sent to a room in the courthouse basement ( which no longer exists), and voting was across the hall. There were seven of us in that little room, three Republicans, three Democrats and Lupe Arroyo, the boss. Talk about “on the job training.” Twenty-five ballots arrived and we started reading the ballots one by one with one person from each party tallying with a pencil. When that batch had been read we had to make sure that we both agreed on numbers. This went on until well after 8 p.m. in the evening.

What a culture shock for me, who had been a judge with a lever voting machine in Aurora. At 7 p.m., we opened the back of the machine, recorded the totals and went home.

At our precinct, late in the afternoon, a woman with almost grown children came to vote. I’ve known her since she was a young girl. I started to say hi and she suddenly said “Where’s Barbara?” “Here” I said. She replied, “I couldn’t vote without Barb being here.” Boy, what a feeling that gave me. The long hours of working and repeating the same phase and the frustration melted away.

So, Routt County ladies and gentlemen: In April 2006, attend your caucus, volunteer as an election judge ( you do get paid). Whether your do it just once or 40 years, as I have done, you’ll never regret the experience and the pride when a voter says “Thanks for being here for us.”

Barbara DeVries

Steamboat Springs

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