Until January of this year, I proudly served for nearly five years the citizen voters of Shenandoah County on the Electoral Board. My interactions with our poll workers and general registrar staff gave me a sense of pride when other aspects of local government operations here often left me bewildered at best. Leaving that post on the Electoral Board was bittersweet, but I felt it necessary to bring in a new perspective and enthusiasm to the position, thanks to April Moore for bringing her enlightened understanding of how democracy works to that position. She along with Ron Bass and Ron Moomaw will keep a steady hand on the helm I'm sure.
The many friends that I was so honored to have met and made still ranks as one of the most treasured experiences of my life. Shenandoah County is still being well served by the dozens of citizen volunteers willing to brave precarious health threats while ensuring that the voting public has free and fair access to the polls. These poll workers simply leave me in awe and at times in tears.
Our country is currently witnessing efforts to limit voting in several states. This has mostly been the case as I have read and understood our labored and often ugly voting history of the U.S. voting as a "privilege" leaves questions unanswered as to "who" amongst us has "earned" it and by what means, birth, race, gender or physical limitations may be called into question at the polls.
Voting as a "citizen's right" seems to have a far more encompassing reach. In this day of limiting access to precincts, scrutiny of the means of identification and the ever increasing anger and unsubstantiated allegations of a wide, and still undefined fraud, many voters believe that the 2020 election results were skewed and can't be legitimate.
Our constitutionally protected First Amendment "citizen's right" to participate in our democratic republic finds itself, once again, under siege as was on full and violent display as our nation's Capitol was besieged and degraded by seemingly random and quasi-militant forces. They certainly didn't represent a "well-regulated militia" for their part.
This past fall, as Virginia instituted early in-person voting, I stood every day and watched thousands of our citizens, each calmly masked and with determination casting their votes. Our general registrar staff and volunteers worked to make their experience a positive one for those 45 days after which they manned the precincts and secured peaceful and accurate election results on Nov. 3.
None of us had any experience in making this happen and yet by opening up curbside, mail-in and in-person voting we far exceeded what we had expected in turnout and with some very minor issues everyone who wanted to cast their ballot did so without undo or underhanded restrictions being placed on them, the citizen voters.
I certainly have no regrets.