Melynn Huntley and Sonya Letson

Recorded December 10, 2020 Archived December 10, 2020 40:19 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby020265

Description

Friends and colleagues Melynn Huntley (63) and Sonya Letson (62) talk about their work and passion as election administrators in Potter County, TX. The friends discuss the League of Women Voters in Amarillo, hurdles that this voting year presented to them with COVID-19, voter suppression, Texas not allowing online voter registration, among other factors. The friends ultimately say that they feel accomplished in getting the vote out and successfully moderating a tough election season.

Subject Log / Time Code

MH talks about being the head election official for Potter County during the Covid pandemic and talks about the difficulty of not being able to require voters to wear masks to vote, and the determination the organization had to make in-person voting as safe as possible.
MH talks about the presence of deputies in the polling place to try to mitigate any potential violence in the polling place, but also talks about the conflicting opinions about deputies potentially intimidating certain people from voting.
MH talks about some things they hadn’t anticipated along the way during the election process, and talks about voters worrying about the USPS and mail-in voting.
MH talks about what happened after she tested positive for Covid and a few of her other staff tested positive as well.
SL says she was a first time election official and learning that MH had Covid and trying to figure out how she could help in MH’s absence.
SL talks about her work with the League of Women Voters and the voting guide the league publishes and talks about a woman who had her guide with her and stood at the polling machine reading through her voters guide for her entire voting time.
SL talks about how the League of Women Voters was getting people to vote pre-Covid, and how this changed after Covid, because in Texas you cannot register to vote online, so the league decided to hold all-outdoor (35 total) voter registration events.
MH says that she feels that the public doesn't know the true extent of the work election administrators do in order to make elections run smoothly.
SL talks about how strict Texas is about voting-by-mail and some of the restrictions the state imposes on voting-by-mail.
MH and SL talk about what demographic of voters the League of Women Voters found they were having trouble reaching, and SL talks about people in between high school and college age.
MH and SL talk about the feeling that they “got it right” despite all the challenges and hurdles they faced during this particular election.

Participants

  • Melynn Huntley (b. 1957)
  • Sonya Letson (b. 1957)

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Partnership Type

Outreach