The Rebel Yell was fortunate enough to speak with possibly the sweetest election worker on campus. Jeanann Ross has been working with the Clark County Elections department for 18 of her 21 years in Las Vegas. She participates during both early voting and general elections, and has seen national presidential elections as well as CSUN senate elections.[flickr id="8229590694" thumbnail="small" overlay="true" size="large" group="" align="right"]
Her involvement has brought her to UNLV for just as long, where she has been stationed at different voting booths around campus through the years. We found her alone at her table Wednesday afternoon in the Student Union during voting for the CSUN Election, and she took the time to tell us about meeting President Carter’s family, the students she has met and why she keeps coming back.
The Rebel Yell: How did you get into election work?
Jeanann Ross: I really just decided I wanted to see what I could do … When I first came to Vegas I did a lot of volunteer work at the schools. I was a teacher’s aide, I worked with students. I went and read to the blind at KNPR. I liked that. I used to like to do a lot of acting. In LA I did some dinner theater. I was Aunt Eller in Oklahoma, I was Mrs. Strakosh in Funny Girl and I was a Cockney girl in My Fair Lady. A friend of mine was working elections and mentioned it to me and I’ve been doing it ever since.
RY: How have things changed for you during elections at UNLV over the years?
JR: We used to work over at the fitness center. I really liked it there because I knew all of the people and they were all friendly. [The Student Union] is different, and there is a different crowd. But it’s interesting. I love to watch the students. I like to see them. I love young people. I don’t like to be around old people like me [laughs].
RY: Are the student elections different from other ones?
JR: Oh, yes. At the general elections, we sit at the computers and the voting machines. We wish more students would vote. We try to tell them, “You should vote,” because the money that [CSUN] uses goes to their benefit. A lot of them don’t care. They need to spend more time studying the candidates because they want to get their money’s worth out of their education.
RY: Do you work with CSUN to coordinate your being here?
JR: Oh yes. We love the people that run the elections here. They’re always very nice and very accommodating. They’re really nice to us. They’re all terrific people.
RY: What are your interactions like with students?
JR: Nothing. Not now. When we were at the [SRWC] we knew people — all the people who ran it, the janitorial staff, the people who worked in the restaurants — they all came up to us. I used to bring bubble gum and entice people to vote. Everybody loves bubble gum. People don’t like candy.
RY: What is the most interesting thing that you’ve ever experienced in election work?
JR: One time, when the fitness center first opened, they had a special event. We happened to be there and in came President Carter’s wife and son. [Jack Carter] was running [in the senate] election and shook our hands.
RY: Why do you love doing this? What keeps you coming back?
Some of the students sit down and talk to us. Maybe it’s because they felt like they needed the company of older people away from home. We’ve had a number of students tell us about their life. I come back every year because it’s always very interesting.