For Dewey Beach Election Chair Elaine Bole, the proudest moment of an election is at the end, when the winners are announced.
Bole has led the election committee during challenging circumstances the past two years. In her first year as chair in 2019, close election results required a state-mandated ballot recount, and other allegations prompted a lawsuit from a losing candidate, who later withdrew the suit.
In the 2020 municipal election, Bole had to manage operations during the pandemic and a challenge to a candidate’s eligibility.
In recognition of her work, Dewey Beach commissioners voted unanimously Jan. 8 to recognize Bole as the Volunteer of the Year.
“It was such a pleasant surprise with all the bad news happening lately,” Bole said.
Mayor Dale Cooke nominated Bole for the award.
"Elaine is a hard working, dedicated volunteer who simply wants to help the town progress and asks nothing in return,” Cooke said after the meeting. “With her leadership, we can always count on Elaine and the entire volunteer committee membership to produce a well organized and successful election process."
Bole attributes that success to former Chair Beverly Correlle, who spent hours mentoring her in her new role, and to election board members Marty Tarr and Kay Sullivan, and election officials Rick Baierlein, Phil Winkler, Paige Martin, Robert Day, Susan Trencher and Stephen Eckermann.
“With how contentious elections can be, you need your brothers and sisters standing next to you,” she said.
Bole has volunteered on Dewey committees, including the comprehensive development plan and charter and code, for years. She helped create the original town newsletter and helped revamp a previous version of the town website.
“I got involved to have a better understanding of how government works,” she said. “I recommend other people volunteer on committees. There’s no better way to get to know the town and residents.”
A former executive producer for NPR talk shows, Bole also curated a travelling exhibition that offered students a hands-on learning experience into the lives of young refugees and their families. She has worked with refugee children in Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Uganda and Iraq with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Bole is already gearing up for the Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, election, in which three commissioner seats will be up for grabs.
“It’s a big election,” she said. A lot of people don’t exercise their right to vote in Dewey, but it’s easy. Many new people have moved to Dewey. Make sure you register to vote. You can vote even if you’re registered in another state. If you own property in Dewey, if you have a deed, you have a right to vote.”
Eligible voters must register 30 days before the election. To register or check to see if you are registered, go to townofdeweybeach.com/AreyouRegisteredtoVote. Absentee voting is also available.