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The Daily Tar Heel

Q & A with retiring Orange County Election Director Tracy Reams

Orange County Elections Director Tracy Reams announced her retirement effective Jan. 31, 2018. Reams has been the Orange County Elections Director since January 2008. Staff writer Mattias Miller talked to her about the role she played as Elections Director and her aspirations after her retirement.

The Daily Tar Heel: When did you become Orange County Elections Director and what did this job entail?

Tracy Reams: I became the elections director Jan. 28, 2008. And as far as what it entails, it's pretty much I just oversee and plan all the elections held in Orange County. I make sure that we ensure compliance with all the related laws and procedures. And just work with my board to make sure that I maintain all their legal notices and so forth and just maintain all the duties that they have delegated to me.

DTH: What has been your proudest accomplishment as elections director?

TR: I think it is just my working relationship I have with my prescient officials and my staff and my board members. One of the biggest things that we've done since I've been here has been the addition of new voting equipment. We've done about half a million dollars worth of new voting equipment that the county commissioners supported and financed for so we are really glad that we have up to date equipment. 

DTH: What were the major challenges you had to overcome in your work?

TR:  Some of the major challenges over the past few years have just been the ever changing laws. Just being able to keep up with those and make sure that we are following the current law and making sure all our prescient officials are retrained on the current law. But it's been really a moving a target here for the last few years. 

DTH: What advice would you give someone entering the Orange County elections director position?

TR: Orange County is a great to place to work. The county manager and the county commissioners, they have definitely supported the sources that the board of elections provides. They are very adamant about making sure that voters have every opportunity to vote. Therefore, they provide the funding for us to open additional sites.

Another piece of advice I would give is that I have a great staff that is going to be left and carrying on when I leave. I think that with the support of the staff and just letting the staff guide (the new director) on how things are done in Orange County. I think they are going to do great.

DTH: What will you miss most about being director of elections?

TR: I'll tell you, it will not be getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning on election day, that's for sure. I'll tell you, it's the camaraderie that we have here and just really the controlled chaos I guess, around election day. It's pretty exciting here on election night.

DTH: What do you plan to do after you officially leave the position?

TR: Relax for a little while. I'm wanting to spend time with my family. I want to get into some animal welfare projects and some community projects in Nash County and just enjoy my summer.


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