Georgia County Employees Saved State’s Elections, But At What Personal Cost? | Christopher Alston/WABE
Deidre Holden has been Paulding County election director for 17 years and has lived in the county since she was 3. Holden remembers where she was when she first learned the pandemic was going to drastically alter her job. “I was actually in Nashville, Tennessee, when Secretary [Brad] Raffensperger made the announcement that we were going to postpone the election. And when that happens and you hear that, your wheels start turning on how you can make that work,” Holden said. County election directors like Holden earned praise for handling the strains of conducting a heated presidential election during a pandemic. While the stress has led some to resign and others are considering it, some are holding steadfast in their positions. The government response to the pandemic had an immediate effect on election departments because it meant quickly rescheduling the presidential preference primary originally slated for March 24 of last year. Like many of her colleagues, Holden had to deal with a drop in poll workers, and older workers who know elections best were the first to go because of their vulnerability to the virus.