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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Letter of the Day

Letter of the day: The gate — and gatekeepers — to democracy

Published:

Your July 4 editorial encouraging everyone to honor the Fourth and our Founders by resolving to vote was timely and apropos. However, there are several other actions we can take as we walk up the steps of democracy.

If you haven’t already done so, register to vote. The old saying is if you don’t vote, don’t complain. The process is painless and rewarding. Call your local supervisor of elections office or check the elections office website. In Pinellas County, it’s www.votepinellas.com.

Now that you’re a registered voter, why not volunteer to be a poll worker? In Florida, the requirement is that you have to be a registered voter in the county where you reside. Most counties pay their poll workers a stipend, and there are several different jobs available.

In Pinellas, the prospective poll worker is required to attend a training class or classes, depending on the job. These classes are three to four hours long.

Election Day hours are from 5:30 a.m. until about 8 p.m. Yes, that’s a long day, but a huge number of very brave people have put in many long, harrowing and dangerous days to give you the right to vote.

The polling place is red, white and blue. It’s not black, white, Democrat or Republican. Poll workers are the gatekeepers to democracy, and this gate is always open.

Incidentally, politicians and public office holders are more than welcome to serve as poll workers. Sadly, very few do.

Gary West

St. Petersburg

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