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Elderly couple in Tennessee reflects on election amid their 30+ years as election workers

Posted at 2:17 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 14:17:20-05

When it comes to voting in-person, Election Day in Tennessee went off without a hitch and some say election workers had much to do with that.

Two of the many election workers who helped make it happen were a husband and wife who have worked the polls for more than 30 years.

Tuesday was a busy day for Ira and Norma Hendon, voters got in line in Clarksville at 7 a.m.

But the Hendon's work started even earlier at 5:30 a.m. And it lasted until about 8 p.m. as they and others made sure every voter who wanted to cast their ballot did so with no problems.

Ira and Norma have been election workers for decades, starting in Stewart County and now Montgomery County.

"But when they ask you how long you've been there, it’s kind of embarrassing," said Norma.

They say in the many years since they began working the polls in 1988, a lot has changed including the voting machines themselves.

"They were the huge machines that looked like photography things with curtains in the front."

Ira is 88 years old and Norma is 86 years old and they say there's no slowing down, not even for COVID-19. They say they felt safe the entire time with their masks and gloves.

From former President George H.W. Bush to President Donald Trump, this couple has never stopped helping a first-time or long-time voter on Election Day.

And even during a pandemic, they say they were encouraged by the turnout this year's large turnout.

"It was so inspiring to see so many people who had medical and physical issues. They came in wheelchairs, walkers, and everything and they just defied the odds to be able to vote," Norma said.

They're not sure what they'll be doing come 2024 but when asked why they do it, the Hendon's say it's because it brings them joy.

"It’s good to meet wonderful people, that's the best part of it, you meet wonderful people all the time," said Ira.

The couple says many voters come back each election and know them by name,

This story was first reported by Kelsey Gibbs at WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee.