Nearly 70 years watching the vote: Harry Truman was president the first time she worked an election in Lincoln County

Great State

AGRA, Okla. (KFOR) — It’s not the kind of polling place where residents are likely to complain about long lines.

Of the 262 voters who cast their ballots at Precinct #5 in the Agra Senior Citizens Center, almost all of them knew each other.

All of them knew Willa Jean McEntire, a long serving Election Supervisor and lifelong resident of this small town north of Chandler, Okla.

“I was born north of here,” she says. “Raised east of here. Now, I live in town.”

She started on the job pretty young in 1951.

Harry Truman was president and Willa Jean had driven home from college when she got a call to fill in at the polling place.

Someone else had called in sick.

“They were in a bind, right?” asks a town visitor.

“They were in a big bind,” she replies.

“My daddy said, ‘She can’t even vote!”

Over the years she moved from substitute, to clerk, to judge, to supervisor.

McEntire says, “I’m a people person.”

Willa Jean took her job seriously too.

We had to meet the next day in the town’s only cafe, well after the polls closed and the ballots were delivered safely to the county seat.

She insists, “You get all the votes tallied. Then you take them to Chandler.”

The next table over, some of Agra’s voters solved the world’s problems over eggs and bacon.

McEntire has her own veteran poll worker’s perspective on this year’s slate of candidates.

“I’m disgusted with all of them,” she chuckles.

As we pack up and the coffee brews, Willa Jean wanders over to the breakfast conversation.

Chances are that she gave each on of these people their first ballots as teenagers.

The latest polls predict she’ll be ready to hand them another when the next election rolls around.

“November will be a biggie,” she says.

McEntire recalls making $10 for her first day as a poll worker.

As supervisor in February 2020, she made just under $100.

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