SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — For some people, elections can be divisive. But, a couple living in Sacramento County says the election season brings them closer together for a cause greater than themselves.
Larry and Margie Miramontes have been married for 51 years. For more than a decade, they've been working together as election inspectors at a voting center in Citrus Heights.
The goal is to ensure every voter makes their voice heard.
"When she's here, she is the boss," said Larry, with laughter. "I'm her backup. We have never had a problem working together. We're best friends. We also spend quality time together at home and we travel a lot."
Margie has been helping voters at the polls for 22 years, while Larry's been a poll worker for 11 years. The couple says they don't always have the same political beliefs - and that's OK.
"The two of us generally agree, but sometimes we do not," Margie said. "How you vote is your decision and your decision only."
Larry agrees. He said, "There's been a number of years where we've discussed things, and we've actually canceled each other's vote."
Each year, during the election season, the Miramontes' help thousands of voters at polling places. That includes assisting voters with needs, from people with disabilities to first-time voters and more.
As election inspectors, the Miramontes' are responsible for leading the voting center, supervising voting clerks and ballot transporters, knowing how to operate voting equipment, communicating regularly with the Elections office, and ensuring all procedures are being followed properly.
"What keeps bringing us back is just the people," said Larry. "Voters have a mutual goal when they come in here. It does not matter what their party is or what their philosophies are. They are all just here to vote."
The couple says the voter experience has changed over the years. That includes California mailing every voter a ballot, expanding in-person early voting and providing secure ballot drop-off locations throughout the county.
Outside of electronic voting and the use of touch screens, the couple says one of the biggest changes is voters now being allowed to cast a ballot at any vote center within their county.
"We firmly believe that every individual has the right to vote," Margie said. "People should be sure to do their research and make their own decisions."