The election officials and voters at the Booker T. Washington Center will miss a familiar face Tuesday.
Austin Hallinan, 92, one of Blair County oldest election staffers, has retired from the twice yearly job at the 5th Ward, 2nd Precinct.
"He served all positions on our elections board," Judge of Elections Patty Flanagan said. "He was the one I went to when I had questions. He'll be missed."
Hallinan worked his last election a year ago when he was 91. His health makes it difficult for him to speak, so he decided to step down and asked for a replacement, Flanagan said.
Hallinan said he has been voting since 1940, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for president. Roosevelt sought his third term in office that year, running against Republican Wendell Willkie. Hallinan met the minimum voting age requirement that year by turning 21 on Sept. 28.
Blair County usually hires five people for each election board at its 97 voting precincts.
The boards typically include retirees, because the task requires being on-site and ready to open the voting poll at 7 a.m. After handling 13 hours of voting, the board members take care of poll-closing duties, then submit the results to the county.
Blair County has no records indicating when Hallinan joined his precinct's election board.
Flanagan said that when she went to work on the election board about 25 years ago, Austin Hallinan had already been on the board for several years. He would have helped voters switch from paper ballots to the punch card voting system in 1983, then to the eSlate voting machines in 2006.
"He's always been able to catch on to things," his daughter Maureen Halerz of Hollidaysburg said.
Halerz said she thinks her father picked up the election board work after 1979, when he retired from the Pennsylvania Railroad with 40 years' service. She said her mother, the late Anna Louise (Stoltz) Hallinan, also worked a few years on the precinct election board after she retired.
Flanagan described Hallinan as someone who knew what needed to be done and went about those tasks.
"He was like the little Energizer Bunny," she said. "He was just wonderful to work with."
Halerz described her father as someone who liked being around people. That may have been a reason, she said, as to why he joined the election board and why he stayed on the job until November 2010, two months beyond his 91st birthday.
"I know he enjoyed getting together with them," Halerz said. "He always looked forward to Election Day."
Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.