New Jersey poll worker hasn’t missed an election in 79 years

Posted: Updated:
PRINCETON -

A poll worker from Mercer County will turn 98 years old next month and hasn’t missed an election in nearly 80 years.

Laura Wooten, of Lawrence Township, still has a job at Princeton University checking student IDs at the dining hall. 

She will take the day off from that job this Election Day to serve as a poll worker for her 79th year. She hasn’t missed an election since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.

This includes last year, when her brother died a day before Election Day and she was unable to get a ride to the polls. She walked to get there.

“Voting is very important. Because if there was no voting a lot of things would still be the same,” she says.

Wooten grew up in Princeton when it was what she called a “southern-northern town.” Schools, hospitals and movie theaters were still segregated.

“We had one black doctor, which would put you in the hospital, but couldn’t come see you,” she says.

Wooten says that it was the ballot box that changed this. She says that this is why she votes and works at the polls.

“A lot of us do not vote. They say, ‘Our vote doesn’t count.’ But how can they could they count if they don’t vote? That’s the only way you’re going to get changes made. I’ve seen a lot of changes but there’s still a lot that need to be made,” she says.

Wooten says that she will get up at 4 a.m. Tuesday and work the polls at the firehouse near her home in Lawrence Township. She says she will work until the polls close and be back on the job at Princeton Wednesday morning.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

  • Just Married in New Jersey

    Just Married in New Jersey

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."