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Edwards retires as BOE director after 31 years

Public reception Thurs., Feb. 28

Polk County Board of Elections Director Dale Edwards began her position when she was just 20 years old.
Her last day with the county will be next Thursday, Feb. 28 when a reception will be held at the Womack building in Columbus from 3-5 p.m.

Edwards grew up in Green Creek, graduated from Polk Central High School and attended Spartanburg Methodist College.

Her first memory of elections was when she was a young girl waiting outside the courthouse to hear that her now late father, Glenn York, was elected to the Polk County School Board. Edwards’ mother is Dot York.

When she started her job, the Womack building didn’t exist, but she worked in a small brick building that sat where the Womack building is today. Edwards said she started with just an adding machine and an old typewriter. She said she had to light a kerosene heater with a wire coat hanger and a piece of paper on the end for heat.

Edwards began in March 1982, taking over for Donna Butler and handled her first election that May.
In the beginning of Edwards’ career, Polk County voted with lever machines. The county has had some type of voting machine since 1964, with votes done by paper ballot prior to that.

Polk County Board of Elections Chair Becky Kennedy says Polk County has been fortunate to have a director like Edwards, “who is a walking text book on the election process.”

“A lot of what she knows has been self-taught,” Kennedy said. “Other directors in our district often call her for direction, which says a lot about her.”