Editorial: Rowan Board of Elections shouldn’t have criticized poll worker publicly

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Some things are best discussed first in private.

Private employers would not (or should not) discuss employee performance in a public lobby with customers around. Local governments would not (or should not) discuss the performance of non-managerial employees during city council, town board or county commissioner meetings.

The Rowan County Board of Elections last week chose a different route — one that was inappropriate. Prompted by board member George W. Benson, the board discussed and unanimously voted to remove Richard Dillon as a polling place supervisor. There were vague complaints about not properly handling disruptions and long lines during an election that resulted in historic turnout, and those can’t be solely pegged to Dillon or any individual poll worker.

Importantly, Elections Director Brenda McCubbins last year stood in the way of a Trump car parade at West End Plaza — one of the cited disruptions — to prevent it from continuing. So, elections officials acted once they spotted a problem. Also, there were no complaints about people not being able to vote because of the incident.

Perhaps there’s an argument for discussing complaints publicly if there’s an issue of gross negligence, but that’s clearly not the case here. The board went back on its vote after Benson’s choice said “no thanks” to filling in for Dillon.

The best thing Rowan Board of Elections members can do is to let poll workers know it appreciates them and provide good training, not criticize them publicly. Poll workers are employees who make relatively little for the stress and long hours required to do the job.

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