Editor’s note: Hand is chairman of the Bryan County Board of Elections.
We are now just 47 days away from the midterm elections on Nov. 8, 2022. I thought you might want to know some of the people and organizations that comprise our Elections Team in Bryan County.
First, we need to find places where our fellow citizens in the county can go and cast their vote. This task is not as easy as you may think. All these locations must be willing to give up space in their buildings for two full days, from Monday morning when we set up for an election until almost midnight on Election Day Tuesday.
Bryan County uses five public sites (Pembroke City Hall, the Black Creek Admin Building, Richmond Hill Rec Center, J.W. Stevens Center, and the Bryan County Admin Building), and we are thankful to have that space.
More impressively, five of our local churches generously give up space each election cycle to help us hold our elections. These houses of worship are First Baptist, New Life, New Beginnings, and Daniel Siding Baptist all in Richmond Hill, and Christ Baptist in Ellabell. Although these churches receive a small stipend for allowing us to use their buildings, they provide this space primarily out of a sense of civic duty and we must be grateful that they care.
Next, our elections team must find enough people willing to work part-time to properly staff the polling locations. For a statewide general election like we will have in November, we need about 50 of our fellow citizens to help out. These civic- minded workers, like the churches mentioned above, participate in this critical task out of a sense of duty.
They work long days, usually about 14 hours, and certainly do not perform this task for the money as their pay is minimal. Please remember their work is essential for our democratic process to properly function, and always thank them when you go to vote.
Additionally, running a proper election takes year-round planning and preparation as there are countless things to do both before and after an election cycle. Consequently, we have a dedicated three-person staff that operates out of our County Courthouse in Pembroke. They perform many tasks such as registering citizens to vote, ensuring the equipment we use on Election Day is in good working order, training all our poll workers, and countless other tasks.
They are essentially our Elections customer service task force and field all the problems and concerns of our fellow citizens in the county.
When things go well, they do their work largely unnoticed and behind the scenes. But, when there are issues, they move quickly to find a resolution.
Finally, there is the Bryan County Elections Board, currently comprised of three members from the community, but soon expanding to a five-member Board. These fine people meet once a month yearround and give even more of their time away from the formal sessions to prepare meeting minutes, decide agendas, and discuss how we can improve the County’s election experience.
All in all, I would say Bryan County is fortunate to have such a larger assemblage of conscientious citizens residing here.
Thank you for your time and please remember to vote.