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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Doyle and Hall Ensure Democracy Thrives in Woodbury

Kathryn Hartery
Kathy Doyle, deputy registrar, and Friend of the Library, and member of the Sidewalk Board, does much around the town of Woodbury, including ensuring voting accessibility for town residents.

WOODBURY — Voting is the key to democracy. This fundamental right allows people to have some level of control over who’s running their government, whether federal or town, opposed to having one person in charge of everything.

Voting, however, is dependent on people getting registered, and that is dependent on workers. In the town of Woodbury, one such example is Kathy Doyle. She, alongside other volunteers, ensures that citizens who want to be are registered. 

“I work as a deputy registrar of voters. I report to the Republican registrar of voters,“ Doyle explains. “We work in the office of the registrar, processing all the new voter applications that come in, [and] processing the transactions for the people who have moved out of our town who can no longer be on our voter list.”

In addition to registering voters, Doyle’s job extends beyond just this initial phase. 

“We also address any changes a voter might have,” Doyle said. “They might want to become a member of one of the political parties or they may want to become an unaffiliated voter.”

Doyle is new to the job, having only been there since 2021.

 “I’ve been doing it for about a year and a half,” Doyle said. “I really like the challenges that it has; there’s always something new to learn. “

The Woodbury Senior Center is where all town elections are held. People like Kathy Doyle and Laurie Hall work here every year to make sure our elections run smoothly. (Kathryn Hartery)

The registrars of voters are interested in getting younger people to vote, which is becoming more important as voter counts decrease.

“We work very hard to encourage people to register to vote if they haven’t,” Doyle said. “The state makes it easy for them because there [are] three different ways they can register to vote: They can register through the secretary of state’s website, they can register in person at the registrar of voter’s office (or if we aren’t there, the town clerk’s office), or they can complete a application that’s either online or found at your library or outside the registrar’s office and they can mail it in.”

Registering voters isn’t their only responsibility, however. 

“The registrars of voters’ office has a lot of responsibilities,” Doyle explained. “In addition to handling all the voter registrations that come in and handling the death certificates that we receive, the registrar of voters is responsible for finding people who want to work at the polls. We’re responsible for training people to work at the polls, [and] we’re responsible for making sure that on voting days that the poll is set up in accordance with state standards and that we follow the regulations all the way through during the process.”

Laurie Hall is one such poll worker. She says that workers see all sorts of people at the polls.

“I encounter some people who make snide remarks and think they’re funny,” Hall said. “I encounter some people who want to discuss their political views but we cannot do that because we are not allowed to. I encountered some first-time voters — those are the best because they are really excited to come in, and that doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen.”

Hall and Doyle both share similar views on the importance of voting. Hall finds it vital “so you can exercise your right to participate in the political system.”

Doyle has a similar view on the importance of citizens voting. 

“There are people who have fought for our country and for our freedom,” Doyle said. “One of the things about about our freedom is exercising our right to vote and to participate in the government process to let people know what we think, and it allows us to participate because we can support the person that might get things done we are most interested in seeing happen.”

Rebecca Trzaski, Nonnewaug’s AP Government and Politics teacher, agrees.

“I think voting is very important not only because it is the best way to tell our representatives what we want and how we feel they’re doing at their jobs, but I also feel it’s important for us to exercise the right to vote because for the vast majority of the founding of our country … we were not all able to vote,” Trzaski said. “I feel it’s really important for those that do have the ability to vote to continue to vote; otherwise it becomes a very slippery slope when voter advocacy decreases.”

Doyle and Hall are also both interested in making sure everyone can vote, no matter age, gender, or disability. 

“One of the things we really like is that we have a piece of equipment that allows us to assist those who might not be able to come into the polls and read the ballot in the fashion that many people can with a pen and the ballot in front of them,” Doyle said. “We have a machine that allows them to use a touchscreen or a button, or if they needed to, there’s an audio process they can follow.”

Hall talked about how she appreciates seeing older or disabled voters come in. 

“Another thing is the people who are somewhat challenged in getting around,” Hall explains. “I think it’s awesome when they come and it’s difficult for them to walk from place to place, but they stick with it, they vote.”

These two women, and many others, make sure that the people of Woodbury can vote each and every year. Without them and the thousands of other people around the country, our democracy would be very different. 

“Anybody is welcome to come vote,” Doyle said. “We do whatever we can when someone comes in to vote to make sure they can exercise their right.”

About the Contributor
Kathryn Hartery '25
Kathryn Hartery is a junior at Nonnewaug and a first-year reporter for the Chief Advocate.
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