This year, for so many reasons, is unlike any other. Not only is there no potluck, but staffing at the polls meant Kvalbein was working primarily at the precinct at Lino Lakes City Hall.
“We’ve been busy now for six weeks,” she said as early voting saw record numbers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s amazing how many people want to make sure they put their ballot in the ballot box. Some of them waited until last week to make sure they did it.”
“I wanted to be part of the (voting) process,” she said. “The main reason I became a citizen was so I could vote.”
After more than 15 years and countless elections as a Lino Lakes poll worker, Kvalbein has developed a circle of friends she sees at the precinct each time.
“I’ve seen quite a few neighbors (this year),” she said. “Even if you only see half their face!”
She wants to find ways to make the process accessible for as many people as possible.
“I just enjoy the feeling of helping people, especially this year,” Kvalbein said. “The reason I work here is I believe in our system. We’ve got good teams and we all help each other, and it all balances out.”