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Every Election Day special for Easterday

October 29, 2004

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...




Jeanette Easterday

Age - 66.

Hometown - Mount Lena

Where would you see Easterday? - Easterday has been working the polls on Election Day for more than 30 years for the Washington County Board of Elections, Greenbrier District 16. She has served as Democratic chief judge of her district for years.

Her district used to vote at Beaver Creek Community Center until Greenbrier Elementary School was built in 1972 and became the polling place.

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The 1956 Boonsboro High graduate was born down the road from the Greenbrier Road home she and her husband, Jake, have lived in since 1962. They have three grown children - a daughter and two sons - and four grandchildren.

Easterday took college courses in banking and worked at the Keedysville branch of American Trust Bank, now M&T Bank. She retired in 1999 as branch manager.

Before retiring, Easterday said she had to save a vacation day to work elections.

Upon retirement, Easterday helped with the family business of more than 20 years - Warrenfeltz True Value Store in Boonsboro - that her husband and sons ran. It closed last spring when the town of Boonsboro purchased the property, but the family hopes to open a new store soon, Easterday said.

She said she enjoys Election Day despite the long hours, because she gets to see a lot of people. The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., but Easterday arrives about 5:30 a.m. and may not finish up until 10:30 p.m.

Her day doesn't end until all the voting booths at her polling place have been taken down and total vote counts are pulled off the machine and delivered to the Washington County Election Board office in Hagerstown.

Each polling place has one Democratic and one Republican chief judge, Easterday said. Everything they do must be done together, including signing off on the final vote counts.

The upcoming election will be the first presidential election under the new electronic system in Maryland. The new system debuted at the primary elections in March and voters seemed to like the touch-screen voting, Easterday said.

"It went really, really well," she said. "Everyone liked the machines. They're very easy to do."

Easterday was expecting a big turnout for this election, despite a poor turnout for the primaries. "...We are so lucky to live in this country, to have the freedom to vote, the freedoms we have," she said. "I wish everyone on the books would get out and vote..."

Hobbies - The first thing that comes to Easterday's mind is her three Jack Russell terriers - Nellie, Willie and Sammie. "My dogs are definitely a hobby," Easterday said.

She also enjoys walking and likes to cook.

Easterday is part of the Apple Dumplin' Gang at her church, Mount Lena United Methodist Church. They make apple dumplings every other Tuesday during apple season, then shift to pie baking until early December, as a fund-raiser for the church.

Easterday is a cancer survivor and is on the board of directors for the American Cancer Society. She's also treasurer for the Mount Lena Recreation Club.

What does Easterday like best about Washington County? - "I think we have beautiful mountains. I love the mountains," Easterday said.

Although she doesn't get there often, Easterday likes City Park in Hagerstown and enjoys the change of seasons, especially the beautiful colors of fall, she said.




If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail janeth@herald-mail.com

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