Thank you, election workers

When elections roll around, we voters take it for granted that we’ll be able to pick up ballots for early voting and have them counted along with votes cast on Election Day. Those of us who prefer to go to the polls take it for granted that everything will be in order when we sign the book and pick up one or more ballots with candidates and questions, and that they will be tabulated accurately after we feed them through a slot in a box or into a machine.

We voters also expect that we will get results as quickly as possible — some, perhaps, later on election night, and most, if not all, by next day.

Delivering on those expectations is the job of our municipal clerks, city and town office staffs and volunteer election workers. It also falls to us, in the news business, to channel those results to the public as quickly as we get them.

For those of you working the polls, it may seem a thankless job to do this each election cycle, staffing posts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. — and then tallying votes into the night to distribute results. Well, please accept our sincere thanks for getting those results to us Nov. 8.

While the public relies on us to get the word out in an election, we can only do that with your help — and in this mid-term election, you did a great job! As a result, we were able to to do our job, publishing stories with results for most of the races beginning late Tuesday evening and into the early morning hours Wednesday.

This fall, we launched a new Election 2022 website for Nov. 8 general election results. And, thanks to you, we were able to update active online charts for each race in real time. We were also able to distribute stories with final and near-final results that went out not only online on Waldo.VillageSoup.com, but also via various social media channels, and we were blown away by the positive public response.

We heard afterward from readers who stayed up with us, watching those charts update every time we got new results. Your work made that possible, and we’re grateful.

We know Election Days can be grueling for your staff and volunteers, running the polls all day and then working into the night to produce final tallies for news outlets and the Secretary of State’s Office. Working an election from early voting through final tallies is a massive undertaking, and we’re thankful for your dedication to this work.

Our thanks also for all the assistance you provide us year-round in our efforts to keep the public informed, from board and council sessions and local issues to town meetings and election cycles. The public has a right — and a need — to know, and we greatly appreciate your help in reporting these important stories.

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Thank you, Rep. Scott Cuddy

As the 130th Legislature wraps up its final meetings over the next week, Rep. Scott Cuddy is winding down his second and final term representing the people of District 98 (Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and his hometown of Winterport). We are sorry to see him go.

An accomplished legislator (primary sponsor of more than 20 bills; co-sponsor of dozens more), Cuddy decided reluctantly not to run for a third two-year term this year. His simple explanation: He has a young family to support, and he cannot afford financially to continue in the Legislature because of the hit to his annual income. On average, he says, he lost about 25% of his usual compensation each of the years he served in Augusta.

Cuddy takes public service seriously. He has served on the Regional School Unit 22 Board of Directors, the Northeast Workforce Development Board, the Maine Center for Economic Policy board of directors, the Tri-County Workforce Investment Board and the Food AND Medicine board of directors. A journeyman electrician and proud member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, he  has also worked as a director of digital advertising for a local design firm.

During his four years in Augusta, he sponsored legislation on subjects ranging from education and labor  to the environment.

His work to serve constituents dealing with state government increased during the COVID-19 pandemic when unemployment issues skyrocketed. He told The Journal, “I was always delighted to hear from someone when they finally received the UI payment that they were due.”

Legislatively, Cuddy played a lead role in framing a new model for Searsport’s Maine Ocean School. The school is to transition from a full high school to a certificate-granting program. Although its method is changing, Cuddy said, “the mission is largely the same. The Maine Ocean School will continue educating Maine kids in the maritime skills that Maine is steeped in. The new model of a certificate-granting program will give the school flexibility to do what it does best, while leaving the core elements of a high school education to a different institution. I’m excited to see what they do next.”

In other notable contributions, Cuddy sponsored a bill mandating that school boards have a public comment period. “I believe in a citizen’s right to address their elected officials on the record in public meetings,” he said. Another of his successful bills “will put some labor standards on renewable energy projects that meet certain requirements.”

“The jobs that are being uprooted by our transition to a clean energy economy are typically good jobs, often union, that have excellent pay and benefits,” he told The Journal. “We need to do what we can to ensure the jobs created by our transition meet those same criteria.”

These are but a few examples of his accomplishments. Rep. Scott Cuddy worked hard for the people of his district, but his contributions during his four years in the Legislature also have had and will continue to have impact across the state. He has earned our gratitude. We will miss him.