Trudy McSwain

Title: Election Specialist
Department: Catawba County Board of Elections
Started with County: 1991 (worked with various departments) - 2103; returned to join Elections in 2015

What does your job as an Election Specialist involve?
I register citizens in the county, assist them with getting registered to vote, making sure they meet the qualifications. If anyone dies within the county or counties, I make certain they are pulled off the list for voting purposes. If anyone's convicted of a felon, I have to issue them letters stating their rights have been revoked. I help test equipment to get prepared for the election. I'm always calling people or trying to find people to hire enough poll workers. I also assist with training those workers. The majority of my work is doing recruitment to work the polls, felon notification, registering people, and working at the front desk to filter calls and handle things that come in.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Helping people. At the end of the day, it’s getting the fulfillment of being able to assist someone with being able to vote. If someone called in or came in person with a question, or if I just bumped into them out in the community, it’s fulfilling knowing that I helped empower them to be able to vote, to have their voice heard.

What do you most appreciate about living in Catawba County?
Catawba County is like a close knit family. Even though we have different municipalities, just being able to connect with people from Sherrills Ford, Catawba, just that wholeness, the oneness, makes me feel like we're a wholesome group. I take pride in being able to say that I raise my daughters here, my children here, I just feel more connected. I don't need a big city life. Even though it's surrounding us, it's easy to get into the larger cities. Catawba County is just a good place.

What is the “why” that drives you to do this work?
I'm a people person. I believe in giving back. If I can help someone, that's my why. If I can help you get connected, or get from A to C, I have helped you complete a little bit of that puzzle. It's all a joint effort.

How would you characterize what it’s like to work here?
I love my work family here. I really do. I don't feel like I'm coming to work. It's my family. When I come in here, I'm saying, “Good morning,” just wanting to let everybody know, "Hey, I'm here. What can I do to assist you?"

Do you feel like part of a team here, and if so, what makes you feel that way?
Oh definitely, because of my director. I don't think my director would ask something of me that she would not be willing to do herself. Even though she is my superior and I respect that she's a working supervisor, she's right in there with me. She'll pull out the vacuum cleaner and I'll pull out the mop. It's like being at home. It really is. I love my work family.

How do you think your work is helping to make living better for residents?
For me, it's about letting them know the different services that we offer here in the county. I don't ever want to get to the point that I'm strictly just Elections, that I can't help if someone calls in and says, "You know what, I need services.” I like having a little bit of knowledge about everything in the county. And if I’m not sure, I’ll say, "Hey, I think you need to call this number. If you hit a roadblock, give me a call back." I want to be able to give that knowledge back to the community.

Interviewed March 16, 2022