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County has new voter registration officer

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By DON STEEN

Staff Writer

reporter@spencercountyjournal.com

 

ROCKPORT – Spencer County has a new voter registration officer going into a busy election season. Sandra Wilkinson started training Nov. 17 alongside County Clerk Sara Arnold to prepare for the mid-term election season, which will begin in earnest early in January. Originally from Tell City, Wilkinson moved to Rockport in 1974 and graduated from South Spencer High School in 1981.

 She and her husband, Anthony, have two children and 10 grandchildren.

According to Wilkinson, the opportunity to serve as the county’s voter registration officer came with rather serendipitous circumstances. Her previous employer, US Bank, had removed her department and left her without a job at the time. However, a neighbor worked in the clerk’s office and advised Wilkinson of the opening in the courthouse.

“The timing was perfect,” said Wilkinson.

With election season coming on fast, the new hire had little time to test the waters before diving in. Not even 10 days into the job, Wilkinson found herself attending an election conference where she took notes on the matters raised by her more experienced colleagues across the state. Despite the overwhelming amount of new information, Wilkinson has sought to incorporate those lessons even as she works on mastering the basics at home.

“It’s a learning experience,” she said. “There’s a lot to learn, but I’m excited. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on laws and everything I need to know to get ready for January when everybody starts to come in.”

In addition to Arnold’s assistance, Wilkinson advised she had been receiving help from the voter registration officials of Warrick and Perry counties, who have been quite willing to lend a hand during her rapid education on all the facets of her position.

She has also been in regular contact with state officials to ensure everything in the county is in sync with state law.

Wilkinson’s duties have been further complicated by the rollout of new electronic polling books this year, which has added yet another new item to familiarize herself with that even Arnold and others in the courthouse are still getting used to. In the long run though, these books are expected to make the process of checking into a polling place much easier and faster.

These e-pads would replace the old paper poll books, eliminating the need for polling workers to look up voters and ensure they’re in the correct location. Instead, the new electronic books can almost instantly scan a driver’s license or other identification card and cross-reference them with registered voters. This will quickly confirm a registered voter’s identity and where they should be casting their ballots. If a voter turns up in the wrong polling place, workers can use the system to print a map to where they should cast their ballot.

“It’s going to make getting in and out of the polls so much easier,” said Wilkinson.

Both Arnold and Wilkinson are working hard to ensure everything is ready as the voter registration office enters its first major election season with Wilkinson at the helm.

“We’re both starting new,” said Arnold. “You only get one shot at this and you’ve got to get it right the first time.”

Wilkinson, for her part, expressed confidence that 2018 would prove a success and hopes to see the county through many elections in the future.

“We’re learning this together,” said Wilkinson. “I’m very excited to be able to serve Spencer County.”