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Decades of dedication

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As always, Elizabeth Ash will be working Tuesday at polls

By Becca Owsley

By BECCA OWSLEY

bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com

ELIZABETHTOWN — Decades of voters have encountered Elizabeth Ash as she served at election precinct sites.

Although she cannot remember exactly how long she has been working at the polls, she knows it has been more than 60 years.

Her mother-in-law was the first to get her involved in working the elections. Ash, now 86, thinks she was 18 when she started because it was shortly after she was married and to her best recollection she married at 18.

Ash has been present for at least 15 presidential elections that go back as far as Harry Truman, maybe even Franklin Roosevelt.

“I have known her for years and she has been there every time I’ve gone to vote,” said Mary Louis Hill, a friend of Ash who works at another precinct.

When she started her election day duties, Ash would ride around the countryside with her mother-in-law handing out ballot information to potential voters so they would know where to vote and who was running.

Back then all the voter had to do is show up at the poll, check off who they were voting for and place it in the ballot box. After the polls closed, voting workers had to tally the ballots and the winners couldn’t be announced before the end of the night.

To Ash, the things that have changed most in her many years are the voting process and the mechanisms that people used to vote. She said for someone her age the changes can get a little confusing, but it doesn’t stop her from voting.

She thinks it is very important for people to get out and vote.

“To lots of people they don’t want to be bothered with voting because they get it in their head whoever they want to vote for is not going to get it anyhow and they don’t think it is important,” Ash said. “To me it is.”

She said she’s considered retiring her service several times and discussed it with County Clerk Kenny Tabb.

“I’ve told Mr. Kenny  many times I want to get out of it but he tells me ‘no, not this time,’” Ash said.

She will be serving again Tuesday at the Valley Creek precinct which meets at the Vaughn Reno Starks Community Building off Bishop Lane.

She believes it is time for a younger generation to take on this duty and continue the work that she and many like her have done for years.

Ash’s familiar face will be seen again this year as people vote at her precinct and she sees another president elected.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.