Erie County officials are taking an extra step to acknowledge Erie County residents who uphold the integrity of elections. Dozens of poll workers took an oath of office at the Erie County Courthouse.

For the first time, Erie County Board of Elections poll workers are taking an oath of office before a judge. Officials say poll workers provide essential services to the election, including setting up election equipment. This also includes checking in voters, processing ballots, as well as securing and returning the votes to the election office.

“There will be no democracy without free and fair elections and these are the people who make it happen. They uphold the law and they do the detail work that’s necessary. I think a lot of people take that for granted, so we are thrilled,” said Mary Rennie, Chairwoman of the Erie County Board of Elections.

One poll worker that was sworn in on Thursday says he’s served the Erie Community as a judge of elections for 36 years. He says that it is rewarding to be honored this way.

“I think it’s our right to vote and I’ve pushed people to vote since I was 16 years old. I’ve been doing it for years and this swearing in, I think, is very helpful to people who, a lot of times, were not appreciated,” said Roman Woodard, Erie County Judge of Elections.

Another judge of elections says the May primary will be the first election that she works. She says she wanted to be more involved in the process.

“To ensure that everybody has their right to vote upheld and that our elections have, you know, true and meaningful outcomes,” said Michelle Jaggi, Erie County Judge of Electons.

The Election Supervisor for the Erie County Board of Elections says this kind of ceremony will likely continue for local poll workers.

“This is the start of a new tradition and I look forward to more swearing in ceremonies. Poll workers run every four years, so they’ll be on the ballots again in 2025.,” said Tonia Fernandez, Election Supervisor with the Erie County Board of Elections.

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About 90 more election workers will take the oath of office on Friday afternoon at the Erie County Courthouse.