After conducting Cheshire elections for more than a decade, Democratic Registrar of Voters Aleta Looker will supervise her last vote tally on Tuesday as she heads for retirement at the age of 75.
“I hope to have fun things to do, and not stick to a heavy schedule,” Looker said. She and her husband, Robert, the Seymour Town Planner, hope to travel and visit their four children, three of whom live out of state. “We’ve enjoyed Elderhostels and hope to do that again,” Looker said.
Looker met her husband in graduate school at Clark University in Massachusetts. They both received master’s degrees in geography.
“I was a secretary for 24 years. I used computers, I was at the beginning of the computer age,” she said. “This job (as registrar) is the culmination of all that training,” Looker added.
She entered the job market when few women worked for a living. “There was a prejudice. They thought women worked for ‘pin money.’ That was not the case,” she said. “The pay grade for women is always less. The playing field may not be level, but it’s better,” Looker added.
The registrar’s office has held eight elections in less than two years, Looker said. The busy schedule preceded the statewide change from mechanical voting machines to electronic scanners. “It was a crash course in election” procedures, she said.
Democratic Deputy Registrar of Voters Ann Marie Hearn, who is unchallenged for the position on the ballot, is expected to be elected to replace Looker beginning with the new term in January.
Looker said Hearn is well prepared to take on the duties of the town’s Democratic registrar. “She’s very capable. I know she’s open to learning new things. She’s able to speak knowledgably and respond quickly,” Looker said.
“I’ve never been on a ballot,” Hearn said. But she’s been deeply involved with elections and is a member of the Democratic Town Committee. “I’ve always been an avid voter,” Hearn said. She attended Paier College of Art in New Haven and worked as a graphic artist before being hired by Looker in 2010.
“(Looker) has a lot of knowledge,” Hearn said. Once she retires, Looker will still be a strong resource, Hearn added. “She’ll be available and know where to get information.”
Republican Registrar of Voters Susan Pappas said Looker would be sorely missed. “With her goes a wealth of knowledge. We’ll employ her at times and use her expertise from time to time,” she said.
“The past 12 years have been interesting, mostly entertaining and fun,” Looker said. “There has been exasperation, crisis, and stress.”
But in the end, the job has given her satisfaction.
“I did something that helped the town,” Looker said.