There is much to be thankful for in the pursuit of squeaky-clean elections when you’re the town clerk and registrar of voters in an extremely — and I do mean extremely — small town. Of course there are still a few misconceptions to be cleared up. No, we can’t all get our voting done by 6 a.m. and close up shop and go home. This is not Dixville Notch.

I wouldn’t want to anyway. If we didn’t stay all day waiting for the occasional voter to come in from hauling, still in oil-gear, we’d miss the crockpot moose stew or the homemade macaroni and cheese that the phone man brings.

As I’ve written before, election days on this island are generally peaceful experiences for the ballot clerks, with no long lines, no malarkey about telling some poor resident who’d already stood waiting for an hour in the rain that he’d have to go across town to another polling place, no rannygazoo about whether the person standing in front of us, living and breathing and asking for a ballot, was perhaps in fact dead because the paperwork . . .

I was going to include in the above list of happy negatives that we never had “mechanical failures,” suggesting that with no voting machines we were assuredly better off. Thinking back, however, we did have one election when the phones were out for a few hours. That didn’t stop anybody from voting, or interfere with the count, but it would mean we couldn’t beat out Monhegan or Isle au Haut by calling in our results first. The Bangor Daily News wanted the results faxed over, and that meant a phone line, but of course it was a Tuesday (as elections generally are). Tuesday evening is also when the Knox County amateur radio community emergency preparedness group gets on and chats on the 2-meter to check their (ahem, our) equipment. I had considered sending the results to the newspapers by way of a ham radio link, like a Radiogram (yes, those still exist). A few midcoast hams were sort of bummed that the telephone outage got fixed before the polls closed.

It’s all fun and games about quirky small towns and their “everybody knows everybody” lifestyle (which may or may not be accurate any given week), but in these days of purported election hacking by paid trolls in gloomy Carjackistan basements (cue Borodin’s “In the Steppes of Central Asia”) who explain to us on Facebook how this or that politician owes parking tickets, or pulls the wings off flies, or is an actual-factual Martian, I guess we had best be vigilant.

Being vigilant, and wishing for everything to be According to Hoyle (mostly), I’ve tidied up the list in advance of the upcoming election. There will already be sufficient bureaucratic stomach acid without people asking, “Why is this guy still on our list?” The six or eight sternmen (and women) who have moved on to other berths in other ports, but who have not registered anywhere else, cannot be summarily removed simply because the whole island knows they’ve gone. That is not how it works — at least in town offices where ethics and voter’s rights matter (read Stacey Abrams’ book on voter suppression, “Our Time Is Now,” if you want to get good and mad about voters being dumped off lists). No; it’s a multi-step process for good reason. The fact still remained that several people on our rolls had moved away and everybody knew it. I wanted our November voter turnout percentage to be accurate. Without forwarding addresses, our temporary islanders were reclassified as “inactive” voters.

A couple of others had died. I don’t want any snark and chuckling come November about dead people voting out here because, you know, zombies and such, so I was motivated. Your voter registration professionals are supposed to have a physical document of some sort before removing a person from the rolls as deceased — if not a death certificate, at least a published obituary or a signed letter to City Hall from a family member. The clerk personally knowing they had died is not enough (there are reasons for that, too). With a little research and a few calls to other towns I was able to get the paperwork I needed.

But one of those who had passed on had been lost out of his lobster boat, presumed drowned, and never found. A newspaper article indicating that the Coast Guard had suspended the search may not be technically enough; that isn’t my call. Lacking the usual documents and not wishing to pester family who had since moved away, I called the helpful folks at the Division of Elections in Augusta for procedural advice.

The department staffer answering the phone in Augusta told me he’d “never had a ‘lost at sea’ before.”