Tammy Smith said she is ready for her new role as the Wilson County Administrator of Elections after Phillip Warren retired last month.
Smith, a Macon County native, worked for the Macon County Election Commission from 2005-2011, including administrator of elections from 2009-2011. Warren recruited Smith to Wilson County, where the duo helped make Wilson County the only county in the state with two certified election administrators, which is a similar process to the bar exam for attorneys.
Smith, who holds a marketing degree from Western Kentucky University, even helped Warren prepare for the certification exam.
The Wilson County Election Commission appointed Smith to fill Warren’s role, and Smith said she is ready for the challenge.
“I’ve been doing a lot of the nuts and bolts of the office anyways. The responsibilities I’ve had include planning and preparing for elections, overseeing the calendar and getting all of the machines ready. A lot of the details of the office I’ve been doing,” Smith said.
Smith said Warren excelled at the public side of the position, which she said would take some time for her to adjust to.
“We’ve had a really good partnership over the last 11 years. I’m really going to miss working with him,” Smith said. “We’ve created an environment here that we run fair and honest elections. We’ve worked really hard to be nonpartisan and none of that will change. Both of us have been very adamant about that.”
Smith serves on the executive committee of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center which aims to improve cybersecurity in election offices, as well as the Bipartisan Policy Center, which makes policy that serves all citizens.
“By being on those boards, I get and see a lot of outside ideas and things you can do to make elections better,” she said. “Policies and procedures have been part of what I’m responsible for currently, so we have done a really good job as a team to put those procedures in place that have made elections very secure, and we’ve tweaked things to make it the best it can be.”
Smith said her new role will allow her to pass on some of her knowledge.
“That’ll be hard for me because I’ve been hands on and in the middle of everything,” Smith said.
Smith said one of her main goals is to continue to educate people about the commission and reduce the spread of misinformation.
“I would like to educate the public more about what we really do, so you can get involved,” said Smith, who touted the commission’s Election Institute as great education tool for residents. “We teach the behind the scenes of what goes on every day and during elections. Many people think we do the elections and then we’re done, but we’re always planning and working toward elections. It’s a year-round process.”
Smith and her husband, Neil, have two children, Peyton and Parker.