By Brandon Martin
Local election officials are calling it the “dawn of a new day,” as Henry County officially swore in its newest registrar, Dawn Stulz-Vaughn, in a Feb. 8 ceremony.
Vaughn was tapped for the role after the November death of Elizabeth Stone, who held the position for 45 years.
“I’d like to say thank you to the electoral board for giving me a chance and the opportunity for this,” Stulz-Vaughn said. “Although I am looking forward to all the new challenges, I do realize that I have big shoes to fill.
The opportunity will be a chance for Vaughn to continue her long career of service to the community.
“Public service and serving the citizens of Henry County and Martinsville is not new to me,” she said, adding that she has served as a teacher, police officer, and training coordinator at the Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy.
“This opportunity came forward and I’ve known Mrs. Stone and her son for all my life,” Stulz-Vaughn said. “I just thought it was a good opportunity for my family and myself, so I decided to step out of my bubble.”
Stulz-Vaughn said that in all of her life choices, she “always needs a purpose.
“I’ve always been in government and public service. I miss interaction with citizens and to me, this was a new opportunity,” she said. “It felt like this is where I was supposed to be, and I think God has a strong hand in putting me in this position.”
Before interviewing for the position, Stulz-Vaughn said she reviewed the handbook for general registrars.
During the interview, “they asked me a lot of personal questions. I’m very organized and I like to take notes, so I did that,” she said. “When I got called back for the second interview, I think they made the decision then, but it was a whole separate set of questions and it gave me time to ask some very meaningful questions of them. It just seemed like a good fit.”
Now that she has officially been sworn-in, Stulz-Vaughn said she is excited to learn the ins and outs of the job.
“I’ve got a primary coming up in June, so I’ve got to get myself together and figure out how to do all of that,” she said. “To me, voting is such a privilege, and everyone should have that opportunity. I’m looking forward to figuring out the inner workings of the office and how to get prepared.”
While she has a few new things to learn, Stulz-Vaughn also brings in past skills that will benefit her in the new role.
“I think organization and being able to tackle the tasks that are asked of me by prioritizing is certainly important,” she said. “I’ve already met some of the candidates this morning. Getting out to meet them and letting them know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing is also important.”
Before the swearing in, Rita Shropshire, chairman of the Electoral Board of Henry County, discussed the gravity of the appointment.
“This past year, we experienced some unexpected events,” Shropshire said. “We were not totally prepared for them. We faced some uncertainty. We experienced some black clouds, but we all know that behind a black cloud is a silver lining and eventually the sun is going to shine through. The past is history. Today, we are beginning a new chapter. We are beginning the dawn of a new day.”
Shropshire said the electoral board interviewed several candidates. The “outstanding ones” received a second interview.
“I am honored today, on behalf of the Electoral Board of Henry County, to appoint Dawn Stulz-Vaughn as the registrar of Henry County,” Shropshire said. “Dawn, to you, I give you my full support.”
Jennifer Ashworth, Henry County Circuit Court Clerk, administered the oath of office.
Stulz-Vaughn’s term of service will span from Feb. 8, 2021 until June 30, 2023.