• 46°

Republican volunteers say ‘passion’ drove victories across the ballot

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — With an election characterized by face masks, social distancing and longer hours, local Republicans say volunteering this year was a bit more challenging, but the passion helped the party see victories across the ballot.

Scott Isley said he’s volunteered with the Rowan County Republican Party before, but this was his first election in charge of organizing volunteers to work at the polls. He said about 80 volunteers were spread across the voting sites this year, which was a challenge because of the extra voting hours and days available this year.

While Isley tried to arrange volunteers at sites closest to where they live, the main goal was to ensure someone was present at every voting site during every hour in the early voting period — Oct. 15 to Oct. 31, which included three Saturdays and two Sundays. Additionally, most precincts on Election Day had a Republican volunteer present as well, he said.

He added that those efforts paid off. Every Republican candidate on the ballot in Rowan County was victorious, with nearly all Republicans winning by a margin of at least 30 percentage points.

“We covered our polls,” Isley said. “There was a steady number of very passionate Trump supporters volunteering this year.”

The goal of volunteers at voting sites was to present a positive face and provide information that listed all of the Republican candidates on the ballot, which many people appreciated, he said. And the pandemic did result in those volunteers being more conscious about respecting other people’s space.

Isley said another difference this year is that more of the older, retired volunteers spent their time working at the county headquarters, located at 612 W. Innes St.

Rowan County Republican Party Chairman Don Vick said volunteering was impacted by the pandemic this year because some of the frequent or typical volunteers were less outgoing with their efforts because their families wanted them to stay home.

“This was a tough year,” he said.

Nonetheless, “our folks worked really hard,” he added.

Elaine Hewitt, who’s been an active volunteer in local Republican politics for more than a decade, said a major difference this year was the mask wearing and social distancing. She primarily spent her time as a poll observer.

While many of the older volunteers weren’t able to participate this year or had to limit their contact, “that did not impact our abilities as a party to do what we needed to do,” Hewitt said.

Volunteers have the flexibility to choose when to volunteer, but one of Hewitt’s biggest concerns was the schedule for the paid election workers. Hewitt said one early voting supervisor she spoke with told her some paid election workers worked more than 80 hours during the first week of early voting.

“Being an election worker requires great attention to detail,” Hewitt said. “Fatigue puts accuracy in jeopardy as well as increases the chances of inappropriate behavior or statements.”

Hewitt said, if a voting schedule like this year’s continues in future elections, more effective scheduling should be studied.

“Obviously the pandemic impacted some experienced election workers, and the (Rowan County Board of Elections) did the best they could,” Hewitt said. “Again, if this schedule continues, the board itself needs to look at how to man it effectively.”

Isley said he was proud of what Rowan County was able to accomplish this year.

“(The pandemic) made for a difficult season,” he said, “but luckily people were passionate enough to stick it out.”

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

Comments

Coronavirus

With two reported Tuesday, county averaging more than two COVID-19 deaths per day

Crime

Randolph County deputies cleared in shooting death of Rockwell man

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being reported as ‘suspicious’

News

Duke Energy, NC officials announce coal ash expense deal

Local

Police, firefighters parade for hospital staff

Coronavirus

Demand continues to exceed supply as county shifts to vaccine appointments

Local

‘Uncommonly good man:’ Local appraiser Scott Robinson dies after fall at home

News

Rowan Planning Board settles on screening requirements for solar farms

News

Transition to mass vaccination sites irks NC health systems

Crime

Mississippi sheriff: One dead after Salisbury children left in woods; father sought

Crime

Man faces misdemeanor child abuse charges

Crime

Two charged with breaking into building on South Main Street, drug possession

Coronavirus

Nina Oliver: County will move to appointments for vaccines

News

Political Notebook: North Carolina lawmakers say they look forward to working with Biden

Ask Us

Ask Us: How will county administer second doses of vaccine?

News

White House begins talks with lawmakers on COVID-19 relief

Coronavirus

81 new COVID-19 cases reported Sunday as county hints at appointment model

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with shooting at police, robbing Goodwill in December

News

During early mornings and weekends, F&M Bank handled hundreds of Paycheck Protection Program loans

Coronavirus

Salisbury VA uses appointment model for COVID-19 vaccinations, tops 3,300 doses

Local

Response remains mixed as city continues gathering public input on downtown street plan

Education

Community offers support for, memories of Knox teacher Beaver

Business

Loan program for women, minority entrepreneurs expected to launch in spring

Entertainment

Symphony offers virtual performance of ‘Resounding Romance’ Feb. 12-14