Meet one of the poll workers who help democracy happen

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For years, Miria Natividad has spent Election Day following a pathway of political signs towards what she calls the most important job of her life. 

“I get excited because these people voting are our future,” she said.  

When she was growing up in Peru, women were not granted the right to vote until 1955. So as soon as she immigrated to the U.S., Miria delved into city government. She worked as a court clerk with Dorthy Brown for 14 years, and worked for 14 years with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.  

But for the last decade, she’s been an election official for the 33rd Ward, which is now based at the McFetridge Sports Center. For Miria, it’s about giving everyone the right to be heard. 

“One day I almost cried because a woman came in with three kids, and said she just couldn’t vote with all her children there,” she remembers. “I said, ‘don’t worry, you vote… I’ll be your babysitter for twenty minutes.”

Even Illinois’ Primary Election Election looks different in the face of coronavirus, including at many polling places where they’re forced to operate with fewer of the familiar senior election officials. Even Miria was advised to give up her beloved post.

“I don’t care.  Yes, i’m way older than sixty-five, but I feel younger in my heart. I’ll be okay…god help me,” she said. 

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