Martha Wallace thinks that it’s time for a change.
She’s been serving as some sort of election official for more than 30 years and, in those years, she’s seen a lot of politicians come and go. But now, maybe more than ever, she believes something needs to change.
“It’s very important to vote,” Wallace told K2 Radio News. “I think people are needing a change. A change in leadership. I think people are tired of the way things are now and they want a change. Not only in Wyoming, but in Washington DC. We just need new leaders. We need a change. We need people we can respect.”
Wallace was, not so subtly, referring to the election that will determine Wyoming’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Liz Cheney is defending her seat against the Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman and, judging by recent poll results, Hageman is probably going to win.
Given the recent…tension between Republicans and Democrats who have differing opinions on the former president and those who choose to follow him, it would be fair to expect some sort of scene at one or many of the voting locations in Casper. Certainly that might be the case in other parts of the country, but Wallace said that that’s not how Casper works.
“This is Casper,” she said. “We’re not in Chicago or LA or Houston. We’re just a huge family in Wyoming.”
And if we’re a family, then Wallace might consider herself to be a matriarch; at least when it comes to election days.
She and her team were up at their location (The Wyoming Game and Fish Department) before 6am on Tuesday, setting up for the rest of the day.
“There’s a lot of setup, a lot of preparation,” she stated. “We set up the voting booths and got the physical things ready yesterday and today it was getting the ballots out and opening the machines.”
This location actually had two voting machines; one regular one and then another that is set up for those with auditory difficulties.
“This one is for people who have hearing problems,” she said. “They can go to that and put earphones on. We have a voting booth for people who are handicapped and have to sit. So it’s very inclusive. We welcome everyone.”
And that’s because Wallace and all of her compatriots believe that this election matters; that every election matters. They believe in democracy and they believe that voting matters.
“It’s just important,” she said. “Especially now. We need change and the only way we can have change is to get out and vote.”
Wallace and her teammates will be waiting for you. Polls close at 7, but that doesn’t mean that’s when their job is done, either.
“After 7, we’ll get everything put away and get this room all back to the way we found it,” Wallace shared. “So it will be closer to 8. And then, the Sheriff’s deputy comes and I have a pink envelope. Things get put into the pink envelope and he delivers that to the courthouse and I take the poll books and the ballots and other things to the courthouse.”
It’s a lot of work, and it’s a long day. But Martha Wallace continues to serve as an election judge, year after year, simply because she cares about the process and she cares about the people.
“I’ve been doing this for 30-some years,” she said. “I’m very blessed to be able to do it. I don’t look at it as a job. I think that we’re blessed to be able to do this. I’m somewhat interested in politics but, more than anything, it’s about the fact that we’re helping people.”
Natrona County Public Library and Wyoming Game & Fish Serve as Voting Locations
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism