Potential election poll worker denied over claims of head lice
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla.—WillaLee Smith, 29, wanted to become an election poll worker and get involved in the process, but it wasn't to be - not this election cycle.
Smith, an African American and college graduate, has dreadlocks.
"I do not have head lice," said Smith, "I have checked."
Her Aug. 2 experience while training as an election poll worker has generated strong reaction in social media.
"I was just hurt; angered," she said.
Smith said 45 minutes into her training she was called out and dismissed. Why? A staff worker found a bug believed to be a head lice and claimed it came from Smith's hair.
"I don't know how to tell you this, but when you take your pony tail out a bug fell out,' and they Google it and it was lice," said Smith.
It is clearly not a scientific approach to what is clearly a sensitive situation.
"It just seems so ludicrous to me," said Laura Coggin,
Coggin is an attorney and family friend.
"The story that a lice could be seen jumping, and they don't jump, hitting a woman in the face falling to the floor and they smooshed it and photograph it," said Coggin.
She questions how the bug was identified and how Smith was handled.
"It is really just how the way it was handled," she said.
Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Cannon believes her staff followed the proper procedure.
"Things were handled properly and it was not directed at her," said Cannon. "It was in the best interest of everyone."
Cannon declined to discuss specifics she said to avoid potential HIPPA violations.
Smith has lost her interest in being a poll worker, for now, but she feels the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections and staff owe her an apology.
"If not an apology, just a policy put in place," she said. "If this happens again someone won't feel the way that I feel at this moment."
There is no evidence of wrong doing, but there is evidence that this could have been handled differently.
Now it has left a potential poll worker with a sour experience about the process and the people running the system.