Ruth Huneycutt

Ruth Huneycutt, director of the Davidson County Board of Elections, checks candidate filings on her computer during the 2010 election. Huneycutt died last Friday at the age of 82 at her home in Lexington.

DAVIDSON COUNTY — Longtime Davidson County Board of Elections Director Ruth Huneycutt, a pioneer as a woman in the field of overseeing elections, died last Friday at the age of 82.

Huneycutt, who served as director since 1983, was remembered for her even-handed approach to candidates and voters of all political backgrounds. She was one of the longest-serving election directors for a single county in North Carolina modern-day politics.

“Our condolences go out to Ruth’s family, friends and coworkers during this difficult time,” State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell said. “Elections work is difficult work, and Ruth succeeded in it and loved it.”

Huneycutt died at her home in Lexington, according to Davidson Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements.

Huneycutt joined the Davidson County Board of Elections in 1973 before becoming director 10 years later.

Huneycutt oversaw elections from a time when ballots and candidate filings were processed by hand — long before digital devices — to a period today when the nuts-and-bolts of holding elections rely on computers and electronic voting tabulators.

She died three days after overseeing municipal elections in cities and towns across Davidson County on Nov. 2.

Former state legislator and Democratic House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman, who served Davidson County, remembered Huneycutt as a fair elections director who helped candidates of diverse political stripes negotiate the candidate filing process.

“I always had a really good relationship with Ruth,” Holliman said. “She oversaw a lot of changes during her time there and was very knowledgeable.”

During Huneycutt’s tenure, Davidson County shifted from a Democratic-leaning county to one now becoming more solidly Republican. Holliman said she treated candidates and voters the same during the decades.

Current state Rep. Larry Potts, R-Davidson, praised Huneycutt’s commitment to her work. Potts, a former Davidson County commissioner, first got to know Huneycutt in the early 1980s when he served as a volunteer GOP precinct chairman.

“She was always fair and thorough,” Potts said. “She was a fine lady who had a strong work ethic. Her passing is a big loss to the county — she gave decades of service to us.”