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A South Florida Poll Worker Reflects On His Experience, This National Moment

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Miami Herald file
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A poll worker in Doral was initially nervous to work the election and now he's watching and waiting with the rest of the country in Tuesday's aftermath.

Antonio Soza, 25, was initially nervous to work the election, because of fears about people trying to carry guns into their precincts, and because of the risk of COVID-19.

Now that his work on Election Day is over, he is waiting and watching with the rest of South Florida — and the country — to see who will become the next president of the United States.

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Soza spent his Election Day at precinct #371 at the Fire Fighters Memorial Building in, as he and many people call it, "Doralzuela." He was asked to report by 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"Your commitment to the democratic process and Miami-Dade County is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your service. We look forward to a great Election!" his email from the Miami-Dade Elections Department read.

Despite his nerves going into the experience, Soza said he felt the elections department stocked poll workers sufficiently with cleaning supplies and a face shield. And that his mission was more important than fear.

"I felt comfortable," Soza said. "I went ahead and I volunteered for this because of the concern that was going around about the limited number of poll workers that would be available — because usually it's much older folks that I do it. I became a citizen a couple of years ago and I felt that it was a civic duty to come in, and show up, and do my part for the country."

Because of high volume of vote-by-mail ballots and early voting this election cycle, Soza said he didn't see as many voters as he expected to over the course of Election Day.

"I did see families come in, younger voters, older voters, people with crutches, people in wheelchairs, you know, and it's just a testament to people's desire and will to decide the outcome of this election," Soza said.

He said now that Election Day is over, he's feeling the collective anxiety — right along with so much of the country right now — waiting for other states to finish counting their ballots.

Several states, each key to the outcome of the election, are still completing their counting processes.

"I am right now optimistic about, hopefully, this transition that would be very peaceful," Soza said. "And hopefully, you know, this is over because I just have a high level of anxiety because of awaiting these results."