Hazel Hester, Clearmont, has worked elections since 1973. During those years she hasn’t sought out recognition or fame. She describes herself as a person who “Does her job. Nothing more, nothing less.”
She is now the Atchison precinct supervisor judge, and the reason for her work hasn’t changed.
“I figured people need to do this job, simply because it’s a freedom to do it,” Hester said.
As a supervisor judge, Hester oversees the entire process on election day. She makes sure everything is set up and all the ballots are ready to go for voters. During her years of service to the community, Hester has seen her fair share of changes to the voting system. From using a thread and needle back when she started, to now the use of technology. Hester agrees that the process has gotten easier, but she still feels like the old fashioned way of voting should remain.
“I really don’t like the electronics. To me I like it when you just sit there and sign your name,” Hester said. “I think the marker is the best because you can’t erase when you put it into the ballot. To me that’s the safest way to vote.”
With all of those changes, Hester has gone through many training sessions to keep updated on the newest methods. Now she learns how to use and set-up a ballot-marking image cast touchscreen machine that will make it easier for disabled people to vote.
Hester cherishes the relationships she has formed, and the people she has met through her work.
“You find out what is really going on in the community. You find out what people are doing and all that,” Hester said. “It’s interesting, and you learn a lot.”
Hester feels like the amount of people voting has gone down slightly since she started. She would like to see younger people get more involved in the voting process.
“Our veterans have fought for this country, and you ought to be out there voting for them to show that you are proud of this country,” Hester said. “Don’t sit in the background. They need to do it.”
Not only does she think they need to start voting more, but being involved in running the election is just as important for Hester.
“The old-timers are not always gonna be around here,” Hester joked. “I do think they ought to get some of the younger ones interested.”
The importance of elections isn’t reserved for the national level. Local small town politics are just as important in helping this country. Hester has a simple message for those who don’t feel the same way.”
“If you’re gonna complain about the government, vote,” Hester said.