SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – This Election Day will be especially memorable for Sherrie Swensen, 74, as it is the last election she will oversee as the Salt Lake County chief clerk before having to hand the title over to the winning candidate.
Swensen has opted not to seek re-election after serving the community for 32 years.
“It really kind of makes me sad,” Swensen said. “I couldn’t decide if I would run again. I walked out and thought, ‘What have I done?’ because it’s been a part of me and I want to make sure it’s carried on.”
Throughout her career, Swensen has worked to make voting more accessible by running in-person registration drives and promoting a vote-by-mail system. She said she believed it is important for everyone to make their voices heard.
“All those years ago, voter registration was not readily available,” she said. “That has changed dramatically. I started going out and doing in-person voter registration drives in senior centers, high schools, you name it, I was there.”
Even with these successes, Swensen said the job was not without its challenges.
“It’s been hard to hear people say that our system is corrupt,” she said. “That’s really disappointing… When they say there’s fraud, and you see the work that goes into the process by so many people – It’s just not right.”
Despite the long hours and late nights, Swensen said working as a Salt Lake County clerk has been worth it.
“We’ve had successful elections,” she said. “And that was my goal: Every single person in the county who wants to vote can do so conveniently and easily. We’ve gotten there.”
Swensen is not sure what’s next for her after her retirement, but she said she is grateful to be able to spend some time with her family and travel. She added that she hopes the practices she had worked hard to establish will be maintained and exercised during future elections.
“I want to see the conveniences that have taken decades to implement carried forward,” she said. “I want to see whoever comes into office keep those in place because I believe we have the greatest convenience now of any state in the nation.”