Many public servants in our community rightly deserve praise, but these days the focus is on Registrar of Voters Andi Matheu and her staff.
What a year this has been so far for them!
Folks with the registrar’s office have shouldered a huge workload this year because of the pandemic. They’ve been forced to deal with the sudden work of changed registration dates and deadlines and the added work of maintaining good hygiene and social distancing.
What’s more, they have been answering hundreds of phone calls a day, most of which are from irate voters who call ready to fight.
Now, Mrs. Matheu and staff with help from others are shouldering the work of dealing with the expected historic volume of absentee voting and early voting.
“We are stretched thin and working harder than I have ever seen my people work,” Matheu told me Wednesday.
And that was before Friday arrived – the start of 10 almost consecutive days, each at least 11 hours long. They do get off the two Sundays, two days of rest during this hectic time.
Friday was just dawning when early voters began forming a long line at the Clausen Building in Hammond and the Florida Parishes Arena at Amite. It’s a good thing parish officials agreed to let these buildings to be used for this early voting period. The registrar’s usual offices for early voting could not have accommodated the traffic, the parking and the crowd.
The line started moving at 8 a.m. but remained long all day.
Throughout this year, and especially this week, the patience Mrs. Matheu and staff have exercised is admirable.
Misinformation is a big issue, and it taps into the dark side of people’s nature to expect the worst. But in many incidences, when people call the registrar’s office and get the correct and complete information, they come to realize their problem actually turned out to be no problem.
Situations that are happening in other states are scary. Tensions are rising with the Nov. 3 election only 17 days away, especially if people are relying on network television and social media for their information. Each of us must be very careful of the sources we choose to believe and trust.
As good citizens, we should not share things on social media without verifying validity. Even one phrase of a sentence or conversation can be taken out of context and spun to mean anything necessary to push an agenda.
Despite being swamped with work, our registrar of voters and staff are still answering questions about the elections process.
“I just want to get the correct information to the voters so they feel comfortable when they cast their ballot, whether it be by mail, early voting or election day!” Mrs. Matheu said.
That’s public service!
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I grabbed the thermometer – 98.1, but just to be sure, later that evening, I added an extra dash of Slap Your Mama to his turkey breast before serving supper.
He took a bite and coughed. Actually, he just about choked.
“Too hot?” I asked as my husband, The Professor, grabbed a glass of water.
“That’s pretty spicy,” he said, his eyes watering.
Relieved that he passed the taste test, and feeling quite guilty, I gave him a piece with less seasoning.
This is one of those times of the year when people cough and sneeze in Louisiana. So we wonder is it seasonal allergies, a cold, the flu or COVID-19?
A cough, a sore throat, congestion, headaches and fatigue are symptoms that come with many of the respiratory illnesses, the experts say. Fever, body aches, nausea and vomiting are symptoms that flu and COVID-19 have in common.
Two symptoms unique to COVID-19 are shortness of breath/difficulty breathing and a new loss of taste or smell.
Perusing North Oaks Health System’s web page, I came across a Symptoms Chart (See page A6) that can come in handy when trying to decide if it’s time to check with our doctor or consider getting a nose swab.