The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 16, 2014

Ashtabula County poll workers win recognition from the state

Two of four honorees come from the area

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County has two of the top election poll workers in Ohio, and Secretary of State Jon Husted saluted their efforts during a ceremony Tuesday morning in Jefferson.

Lois Clark of Ashtabula and Jean Vendetti of Ashtabula Township were 2013 winners of Husted’s Red Carpet Award, which he has bestowed annually since 2011. Four winners are selected annually, meaning Ashtabula County claimed half of the available honors in a single year. Husted presented plaques and praise at an event attended by election board personnel and well-wishers.

“You are examples of dedication to democracy, the importance of voting and why voting matters,” he told the winners. “You obviously have pride in your work.”

Each county election board nominates two employees — one from each political party — for the award. The nominations are reviewed in Columbus. The state employs around 40,000 election workers for any given election cycle, which makes the county’s Red Carpet domination very special, Husted said.

“Only a handful (of workers) get nominated and an even smaller number are picked,” he said. “And you both won. It’s a pretty big deal, I think.”

Carol Lovas, the election board’s deputy director, said the recognition is well deserved. Clark and Vendetti take their jobs seriously and are very dependable..

“They go above and beyond,” Lovas said.

Clark, a Republican, estimates she has been a poll worker around 40 years, while Vendetti, a Democrat, says she’s been on the job for more than 30 years. For Vendetti, the duty grew from a long-standing interest in civics.

“I’ve always been interested in government,” she said.

The job has evolved as rules and technology has evolved, the pair agreed. “We could tell stories all day,” Clark said.

Husted said about one-third of Ohio residents vote early, which makes Election Day a little less frantic for workers. “It is easing some of the pressure,” he said.