The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 21, 2011

County election board secretary retiring

ENID — Garfield County Election Board Secretary Lue Ann Root is retiring effective Jan. 1 after 41⁄2 years on the job and 27 years prior to that with Garfield County.

A come-and-go reception will be 1-4 p.m. Dec. 9 at the election board office, 903 Failing.

She first worked in the Garfield County Treasurer’s Office part time, then went to work for the county clerk, where she was employed until being named election board secretary.

Election board secretaries are nominated by the state senator in the area, who sends the name to the Oklahoma Election Board, which makes the final selection. Root became election board secretary in 2007, following the retirement of Wenona Marshall.

Voting equipment is being updated as part of the statewide system, she said.

“I think Oklahoma voters will very, very impressed and proud of our new system next year,” she said. “The old system worked so very well and was dependable, it just needed to be updated.”

The new system will take the best part of the old system and update it. There still will be paper ballots.

Root said no one can anticipate the amount of work and time the election board secretary job requires.

“Sitting on an election from start to finish, the amount of paperwork, time, the people involved, no one can anticipate it until they actually get into doing it,” she said. “That surprised me.”

In the last redistricting, Garfield County lost two precincts and now is down to 30. Root said she believes making elections go smoothly is an important part of the job, as well as taking care of voters and candidates and making sure they have what they need. She said being there for the public — when residents need information so they can find their polling places — and having information available when residents need it are important jobs.

She became interested in the job after serving as a precinct inspector for many years, taking vacation time from her county job to do it. When she heard about the vacancy, she sent her resume to Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, who nominated her. She has no idea who will succeed her.

The first year was a busy one for Root and her staff, because they prepared for a presidential election, but it was an educational year.

“It was a very, very busy year, but we learned an awful lot,” she said. “The girls and I learned a great deal, and I think we’re ready for it this time. I think everyone should have the opportunity to have a job they enjoy as much as I have this one, at least once in their career.

“It’s been a privilege.”

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