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Four decades on job register in county page 2
After 44 years in Spotsylvania County's voter registration office, Bessie Morefield retires for the second time

 Morefield (going over files in her office before retiring on Wednesday) has 12 presidential elections under her belt.
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Date published: 1/7/2013

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She got quite an education as the years went by. Before the Voting Rights Act of 1975, people who didn't pay certain taxes couldn't vote in federal elections--and that bugged those who wanted a voice in picking the next president.

Then, there were candidates for state offices who reached into their pockets--literally--to get voters.

"I saw it with my own eyes," she said. "I saw candidates who paid people to vote for them."

She worked with several registrars, including the current head, Kellie Acors, and through 12 presidential elections. There were problems with voter machines being set for the right Congressional district in November, and Morefield is certain changes will be made to fix them and accommodate a high voter turnout.

She also smiled a little when she said she won't be the person handling those changes.

One of the best parts of the job was finding people to work the polls on election days, Morefield said.

More than 300 people are needed to cover the county's 27 polling places.

Morefield kept their names and contact information on index cards in a plastic container.

"I've made lots of close friends," she said. "I can name just about every one of them."

She also knows "pretty much everybody in the county," said Gwen Jones, a circuit court clerk who's been her friend for 35 years.

And she always finds time to talk for a few minutes, said Charles Trigger, an election official who's worked with Morefield since 1991.

"That's something from our generation that's kind of going by the wayside," Trigger said. "Everybody's texting one another or talking on Facebook. Face-to-face contact is kind of going away, but not with Bessie."

Morefield, who initially retired because her husband, Charles, was sick, said she plans to spend more time with family. She and Charles, who recently celebrated their 62nd anniversary, have four children, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

She's been a longtime and active member of Massaponax Baptist Church and plans to do more volunteer work.

Her co-workers aren't surprised that she has no plans to slow down.

"She never stops," Kidd said. "She may retire, but something else will take the place of work."

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com


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