Five minutes with … an election judge
Name: Kim E. Breslin
Place of birth: Lynn, Massachusetts
Occupation: Cabinet installer with husband, Frank Breslin, owners of Heritage Woodcraft in New Castle.
How long have you been an election judge and how did you get into it? I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. I liked to volunteer and thought I should be an election judge – they had a hard time finding people. I started and never stopped.
What are your duties as a New Castle election judge? We have different staffing stations – about 5 or 6. My position is to check people’s addresses, their identification, make sure they’re registered to vote, that they’re at the correct polling place and if they’ve moved, that they’re in the correct precinct.
What’s election day like? We have to be at the polling place at 6 a.m. and we have to make sure there are no signs within 100 feet of the polling place. People are not allowed to wear buttons or pins. I’m the person at 7 a.m. that goes out in front and yells at the top of my lungs, “Hear ye, hear ye! The voting polls are now open!” At 6:30 p.m. I go out and say “Hear ye, hear ye! The voting pools are closing in 30 minutes.” At 7 p.m. I go out and say “Hear ye, hear ye, the voting polls are now closed!” and take the name of the last person in line. It’s an old Colonial tradition. In the old days, during a general election the bars were not allowed to be open and the restaurants could not serve a drink between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
What do you like about being an election judge? I like meeting the people, I like the process we go through, the people I work with and seeing people that I haven’t seen in a long time. I like participating in the American process.
What is the most common problem you run into on election day? People who didn’t update their registration to vote; people being in the wrong precinct and people partying and having a great time and coming in saying, “I live in Carbondale, but I wanna vote here!”
What’s the longest time anyone has ever spent in the polling booth? There’s a 15 minute limit, which is why it is wise to bring in a cheat sheet. But I’d say Spanish-speaking people who don’t comprehend English and have to bring their kids in and the elderly take the longest amount of time.
Funniest, strangest thing that ever happened at the polls? People who come in ranting and raving, who protest the process or people who come in intoxicated.
When did you move to Garfield County and why? I moved here on Nov. 22, 1976 because I had a sister that lived in Marble and I wanted to be near her.
First thing you’d buy after winning the lottery? Donate to a charity or somebody who needed it. And travel.
Best vacation you’ve ever taken? Three weeks in Europe with my husband, Frank.
What do you do in your spare time? Volunteer, help neighbors by doing things like walking their dogs or cutting their lawn. If someone needs me, I don’t mind giving them a hand.
Greatest accomplishment: The happiest time of my life was when I married Frank and we had our two kids.
Ever had a book, movie or news event change your life? The day JFK was assassinated. I was in the 4th grade and the teacher started crying and the kids were let out early. When I got home, my parents were crying. It devastated the whole world.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Be honest and be yourself.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a hairdresser (laughing). But my true heart is cooking.
If you had three TV channels, what would you watch? The history channel, PBS and Antique Road Show.
If you could have any three people over for dinner, who would they be, what would you serve and what would you talk about? My mom and my dad (who is passed). Also, Frank’s parents (who are passed.) And my family – Frank, Sara and Thomas. We would have Italian food, since we’re all Italian, with an appetizer and good red wine. We would talk about what they’ve missed.
Any tattoos? NO (said emphatically).
What’s the greatest invention of all time? Electricity.
Movie: Gone With the Wind
Breakfast food: Fresh spinach omelet
Actor/Actress: Clark Gable
Song/Group: Old Led Zeppelin
Food: Fresh saltwater seafood
Place in Garfield County: Little Box Canyon
Sport to watch: Baseball – Boston Red Sox
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