In the mid-1980s in Aquinnah, Marjorie Spitz, June Manning, Mallory Butler and Camille Rose — a well-known cohort of four — began working at the polls as election registrars. Most came to the job serendipitously, through municipal work or sheer coincidence, but over the years, the work became a tradition and the cohort became an election day staple for Aquinnah voters.

Cindy Bonnell (left) and Wanda Williams, the retired town clerk, in Edgartown. — Ray Ewing

“We’ve always had this good gang and we just all show up for the presidential elections, the national elections, and the town elections,” said Ms. Butler, who has worked a shift in every election, every year for almost 30 years. “You celebrate the fact that you can vote, and that your vote matters in Gay Head, in a town this small. This is what you can contribute.”

Over time, the group has thinned, but on Tuesday, eight presidential elections and numerous local races later, Ms. Butler returned — armed with snacks — to clock a shift in the 59th presidential election.

“This year, it was a must to be a part of this election in any way possible,” she said. “This election is so tremendously important for the future of this country and we all have a lot at stake. I can’t change the election, but I can be a part of the process and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

The group is just one part of a much larger Islandwide network of devoted poll workers, who year after year guide the Island electorate through the voting process. And this year, they have come out in full force.

On Tuesday morning, Anne Cummings, a longtime resident of Oak Bluffs, was stationed at the town library, checking in registered voters. She has been a poll worker in the town for about 10 years.

Tim Rich in Chilmark — Albert O. Fischer 3rd

“My dad used to work at the polls, and that inspired me,” Ms. Cummings said.

The social elements are one of her favorite parts of the job. Even with more than 60 per cent of Oak Bluffs voting early, Ms. Cummings still got to see friends and community members partake in age-old tradition of democracy on Tuesday.

She said it’s getting to see the voters that keeps her coming back, year after year. In reality, it’s the voters who come for her. “Anne, you’re just the person I came to see,” one voter called as he entered.

In West Tisbury, Jane Rossi and Susanna Sturgis, both clad in colorful face masks, greeted voters as they entered the West Tisbury public safety building. Ms. Rossi has been volunteering at every election for 10 years now, and Ms. Sturgis joined the volunteer team more recently in 2016.

“I feel like I’m part of what’s going on in the town and the world as well,” she said.

Virginia Jones, a West Tisbury resident who has been working the polls for nearly 20 years, said volunteering is an important part of being a member of the community. “If you don’t like the way things are going, just don’t sit in the corner and grumble, you’ve got to get out there and do something. Help yourself, help your fellow man, help your community help your world,” she said.

This year there has also been an influx of new volunteers, like sibling duo Barbara and Susan Silk, as well as a sizable showing of college-aged volunteers, who have jumped at the chance for civic engagement.

But whether poll stalwarts or newcomers, all agreed that this year has brought something different, with record turnout, an extended early-voting period and a general ethos of enthusiasm among voters.

Anne Tyra in Edgartown. — Ray Ewing

“Many people said that they weren’t they felt there was a real importance to this election, they felt like they had done something very important,” said Ms. Spark, who volunteered in Aquinnah throughout the early voting period.

Ms. Jones noted in particular, the high volume of first-time voters who took part in the early-voting process. “I was amazed at how many people said thank you for being here,” she said of the experience.

“I wanted to be a part of the process,” said Ms. Silk, who is also involved with the League of Women Voters. “It’s the principle of the thing. I’ve always believed that you can’t complain, if you’re not part of it and you don’t vote.”

Ms. Rossi echoed the sentiment. “I feel very proud to be a part of it this year.”

In Aquinnah this year also marks the start of a new tradition. Ms. Manning and Ms. Butler both planned to bring their grown children to town hall to help them count Tuesday evening. “It’s great for them to be able to participate at this level in a very, very important presidential election,” said Ms. Butler, whose daughter Nina will help count.

Ms. Manning agreed. “We’re in our 70s now,” she said with a smile. “We’re looking for a new generation.”