Secretary of State in county to honor two residents for lifelong commitment to elections

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One of the duties of Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita is to oversee the state’s election process; and with the General Election now less than two weeks away, the secretary has been traveling around the state to visit county offices.

On Tuesday, Secretary Rokita was in Switzerland County in the office of County Clerk Ginger Peters, and while he was there, he also took the time to honor two residents here for their longtime service to the local political process.

Democrat Gretchen Knox and Republican Belvadean Andrew were both cited as “Honorary Secretaries of State”, which is the highest honor that Secretary Rokita’s office can bestow on individuals. Each was selected by their political parties here to receive the award because they have been longtime workers at the polls on election day

“The average age of our poll workers in the state of Indiana is 72,” Todd Rokita said. “That means that our ‘Greatest Generation’ is running our polls, and we appreciate all of the dedicated service that they have provided to the election system. We also need new poll workers to come in and learn from workers like these two ladies.”

The secretary said that there will be 30,000 workers at 5,500 precincts around the state on Election Day, and noted that many of those workers are very dedicated to serving, just like Belvadean Andrew and Gretchen Knox.

“Both of you are very dedicated workers, and we appreciate everything that you’ve done and will continue to do,” Todd Rokita told the two honorees. “You represent all of the poll workers who spend a long day for very little money, but who do that as a service to their community, state, and nation.”

Gretchen Knox said that she has worked for the Democrat party all of her life, and has been working at the polls ever since she was old enough to vote.

Belvadean Andrew said that she’s sometimes taken some grief from voters over her lifetime of serving on election boards, but that she also enjoys her time on Election Day.

“You guys have been doing this a lot longer than I have,” County Clerk Ginger Peters said. “I appreciate your work. We’ve got more elections to run, and I look forward to both of you being parts of those. Congratulations on these awards.”

“I think we can be very proud of all of our poll workers, but especially these two ladies who have put in so many years of service,” Republican chairman John Keeton said. “It takes a lot of dedication to put in 12-14 hours on Election Day, but these ladies and others do that because they know how important their work is.”

“You two are very representative of all of those people who get up early and spend a long day at the polls,” Democrat chairman Mike Jones said. “You don’t do it for the money, because there isn’t much of that, but you do it because you love your country. I think these awards are well deserved.”

Todd Rokita said that his stop in Switzerland County was part of his 45-county tour as Election Day nears; and said that he was in the county just checking in to see if Clerk Peters or anyone else had any questions about the upcoming election.

“I think we’re going to have a fair and accurate election,” the secretary said. “We’re not here to question things, we’re just here in case anyone has anything that they need our help with.”

The secretary also said that part of his tour was to “invigorate” poll workers, which is why he chose to honor Gretchen Knox and Belvadean Andrew for their years of service.