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At 97, Laura Mitnaul Wooten May Be The Longest Working Poll Worker In The United States

At 97, Laura Mitnaul Wooten May Be The Longest Working Poll Worker In The United States


Photo via: Diversity Inc 

97-year-old Laura Mitnaul Wooten has worked the polls in her home state of New Jersey for the past 79 years consecutively, making her the longest serving poll worker in Mercer County, the state of New Jersey, and most "likely the longest, living, continuing serving poll worker in the U.S.," reports Diversity Inc

Wooten was born in 1920, just one year after the 19th amendment was passed giving women the right to vote. She began volunteering at voting polls in 1939 at the urging of her uncle who was running for a position in Princeton, New Jersey at the time. She was assigned to what was known as the "Colored Y." Her job was to check off voter names as they voted and then go to the homes of those persons listed who did not show up to vote so that they would get to the polls.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation recently honored Wooten and her commitment to voter registration and rights during its 48th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. While accepting her award, she shared "I hope everyone of age and American will go out and vote, a vote is important. And I hope you vote so that we can save Medicare and Social Security [as] we all need that.” She also noted that her longevity at the polls is motivated by seeing first-hand how many people fought and even died to obtain the right to vote, a right that she feels is currently being taken for granted.

"I encourage young people to get out and vote because too many of them don't vote these days," Wooten shared.  "But there was a time, years ago, when just about everybody voted, but it's gotten slack in these years."

As Wooten prepares to cast her vote and encourage others to do the same on Nov. 6th, her demonstrated commitment and acknowledgement of the importance of voting is clear. Every vote is important. Voting is a right that is not guaranteed and should not be taken for granted.