America’s Longest-Serving Poll Worker Receives NASS Margaret Chase Smith Award

For Immediate Release
Feb. 9, 2024

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) presented the 2023 Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award for political courage posthumously to Ms. Laura Wooten. Starting in 1939 at the age of 18 until her death in March 2019, she enthusi­astically served as a poll worker in every primary and general election for 79 consecutive years in the state of New Jersey.

The award was accepted by Ms. Wooten’s daughter, Ms. Yvonne Hill, in a ceremony held on Feb. 8, during the NASS 2024 Winter Conference.

“Across the country, poll workers play a critical role in administering successful elections. Ms. Wooten’s extraordinary 79 years of service are a testament to her dedication to our democracy, and her contribution is truly admirable,” said NASS President and Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab.

Wooten was nominated by New Jersey Lt. Governor Tahesha Way.

“Laura Wooten was an American hero, and a personal hero of mine, who stepped up to serve her community, the state of New Jersey, and our country as an election worker for 79 years straight,” said Lt. Governor Tahesha Way, who also serves as New Jersey Secretary of State. “I’m thrilled that my fellow Secretaries of State join me in recognizing her service with the 2023 Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award.”

Learn more about the Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award here.

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