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Macon man retiring after 60 years as poll worker urges everyone to vote

Willie Clark started as a poll worker back in 1962, three years before the federal Voting Rights Act passed.

MACON, Ga. — Willie Clark, an 85-year-old poll worker is celebrating 60 years on the job. When you go to Mabel White Baptist Church to vote, his face may be familiar to you.

"It makes me feel good about helping someone," Clark said. 

Willie Clark started as a poll worker back in 1962, three years before the federal Voting Rights Act passed.

"Some people, they couldn't read and write, so they had to do what somebody told them to do. A lot of people, they just voted. Some of them didn't know who they were voting for, they just voted," Clark said.

Throughout the years, Clark has worked at most of the poling places around Macon. When he started, he moved and cleaned equipment for different polling locations.

 "I did it back when you just had a curtain booth -- you get in and pull the curtain behind you, and you had to write out everything," Clark said. 

"We used to deliver all the equipment. They didn't have but a little equipment then, so we put it all on the back of a pickup truck."

He enjoys the people he gets to meet through the job.

"It made me learn different things about people, because in the election time, you meet all kinds of people, you meet all races," Clark said.

What makes the job worthwhile for him, he says, "Everybody should vote, because if you don't vote, my thing is you don't have anything to say," Clark said.

For Clark, it's about having the choice and making a difference.

"My one vote might help somebody to get elected," Clark said. "You try to encourage people to vote because we all must vote. What's most important to me, you have a choice to choose who you want to -- whether they win or not, that's still your choice." 

Now at 85, he's ready for others to follow his lead in helping people use their voice with their vote.

"I'm hoping that someone can think, 'Well, this man, he did it for 60 years and I've only done it for four or five, but I hope that I would be able to continue to do like him,'" Clark said. 

Clark plans to work the runoff on Election Day, and if you vote at Mabel White Baptist Church, you just might see him. Otherwise, you might see him around town on the diamond umpiring Little League softball and baseball.

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