On a wall in Mina Lusk’s house, there are four framed certificates signed by previous Georgia governors that have been awarded to her, and considering she’s worked through 62 elections, some might say she’s also earned county-wide recognition.
Lusk got that local acknowledgment at a February Gordon County Board of Commissioners meeting where Commissioner Bud Owens presented her with a proclamation for her service to the Board of Elections and Voter Registration office. Lusk, who has served four and a half terms on the board, was first appointed to serve when local legislation was signed by Governor Roy Barnes in 2001.
Since then, she has served Gordon County for just over 17 years, according to Owens, assisting with elections including presidential primaries, general primaries and elections, municipal elections, special elections and runoffs.
On behalf of the board, Owens honored and thanked Lusk for her years of service at the meeting, including how some had even called her “Mother Teresa” during her time on the board, for her “kindness, wisdom and integrity.”
Lusk said she got that nickname from Leon Stuart, who used to be on the board and retired last year.
“I used to cook and make things for the board,” Lusk said. “And I guess I never did get mad, just whatever came up, you have to deal with it.”
Lusk said she had worked in elections prior to being on the board, but during her time on the board, she’s been under the supervision of Chairwoman Shea Hicks. Lusk’s responsibilities as a board member included attending monthly meetings, seminars, preparing for voting seasons and organizing the ballot machines for each precinct in Gordon County.
Over her time on the board, Lusk made a few observations. First, presidential elections were always the biggest and busiest, with the 2016 Presidential Election standing out to her as being a “very interesting” one. Second, working during elections could be a headache.
Counting absentee ballots, early voters’ ballots and adding them to the votes that took place during the 12 hours of each Election Day can be more time consuming than one might think, according to Lusk.
Yet she said working with Hicks was wonderful.
“She has a good handle on what to do,” Lusk said. “We’ve got a good chair person in Shea Hicks. She’s the best I’ve known since being there.”
Lusk said under Hicks’ leadership, she worked with an excellent board that worked well together as a team.
A third thing she learned was that the laws surrounding elections and campaigns were always changing. Even currently, House Bill 316 is being considered by the Georgia Senate, which Hicks and Lusk both said would be a welcomed improvement.
Summing up her experience, Lusk said she had a wonderful time working with Hicks, that she learned a lot and that she’s seen so much improvement with the board.
“We’ve come a long way and I’m proud of it,” Lusk said a week after being acknowledged by the Board of Commissioners. “I enjoyed all the years I spent with the board. I enjoyed seeing people in the county and working the elections.”
Sitting in her house, Lusk said she’s retiring now because of health reasons. She doesn’t want to always stay at home, but the 87-year-old said she does want to have more time to clean her house, cook and spend time with her family. Lusk and her husband, Paul, have two children, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.