The end of an era is near for the Glynn County Board of Elections and Registration.
Longtime board member Patty Gibson is leaving the board midway through her current term after serving a quarter century on the job.
Gibson, today an appointee of the Democratic Party, first served three years in the 1980s with the board of elections when the board of registration was a separate department. She began serving on the board of elections again starting in 2003, giving her 25 years of election service.
Gibson said she chose to retire Aug. 1 to give her replacement enough time to learn the nuances of the job during the upcoming city elections, which are easier to manage than even-numbered years with county, state and federal elections.
Board chair Patricia Featherstone predicted it will be a long time before anyone serves on the board as long as Gibson.
“It’s like an Olympic record,” she said. “Glynn County thanks you. Everybody here will miss you.”
Gibson, who has never missed voting in an election since she registered at 18 years old, has seen how technology has impacted the way elections are held. She credited the county’s IT department for its unappreciated role in ensuring elections run smoothly.
“We would never have survived the technology age without the IT department,” she said. “I don’t like computers. I do it because I have to.”
During a short ceremony after her final board meeting Tuesday, she was presented bags of candy and a plaque in appreciation of her service.
The candy was given because she always provided candy to the poll workers and other volunteers the day of elections out of appreciation for their work.
“Poll workers are so tired at the end of the day, but they still have a smile on their faces,” she said. “It’s my contribution. A very small one. Someone else will have to pick up the slack and do that.”
Gibson said her future plans are to visit North Dakota and South Dakota, the only two states she has never visited. It’s hard to say if she will get the urge to play a role in future elections because she has loved the job so much.
“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful thing to be involved with,” she said.
Board member Keith Rustin said Gibson’s leadership over the years has made Glynn County’s Board of Elections a “model for the state.”
“I’ve never seen anyone enjoy her work like Patty,” he said during Gibson’s last meeting. “You’re a tremendous asset to our community. You’re just a blessing.”