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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Elections Office Is Looking For a Few Good Poll Workers

... but they got stuck with me. They were desperate. If you don't want to see this travesty of justice repeated, call the elections office today (610-559-3055) and volunteer to be a poll worker yourself. If you don't, they might hire me again. It's a long day, but the pay ($170) is good.

I am not going to name names or even the polling district at which I worked. If you saw me there, please don't name it out of respect for the privacy of voters. But let me tell you a few things about my experience.

* You can actually get sore from sitting on your ass all day. I thought I was well-trained for sedentary activity, but am obviously out of condition. I have to train harder.

* Though I did next to nothing, I was still tired the next day.

* The poll workers are, for the most part, very experienced. Most have been doing it for 15 years or more.

* There's a lot of paperwork involved. Each voting machine runs off four tapes, and each must be signed by each poll worker. We must also sign the return. It is not something you can do cold.

* In addition to being very experienced, poll workers really try to be fair. There were no hidden agendas, no soliciting votes. The elections judge told me, "There are no Democrats or Republicans here."

* We did blow two votes. Two voters who signed in and used the machine walked away without ever having actually pushed the button to cast their ballot. We caught most of the people doing that, but two got by. That is the voter's fault, but it's also ours. The machine lights up when the vote is successfully cast. We missed it twice, which bothered us all.

* One poll worker was very incensed that campaign workers were outside, and wanted to shoo them away. She is a purist. After awhile, I began creating stories for her, telling her they were paying voters or putting signs right in front of the door, or sneaking inside. She'd fly outside until she finally caught on. "Now I know why everyone hates you," she told me.

* Most of them amazingly knew me as "that guy who writes."

* They all have interesting life stories. I can't tell them here without giving them away.

* Our constable was barely able to walk to the easy chair, upon which he lounged until lunch and dinner time.

* The elections judge let me sneak out at 2 pm to get some food. Don't tell on me. I stopped for a pint of rice, peanuts and a coke. As I ate, the poll worker I was tormenting asked, "You live alone, don't you?"

* The voters are mostly very old and very white. Those are the people making the decisions.

* One voter insisted on showing her ID. "If I need it to buy a pack of cigarettes, shouldn't I need it to vote?" she asked.

* Another voter, who is a clown by profession, told us jokes for a good while. Some were pretty good.

* One voter went to the wrong car after voting. When her key did not work, she called her husband to complain until the school custodian told her she was trying to get into his car.

* Two Independents were turned away.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your service.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for volunteering. The folks who do at my regular place take their responsibility very seriously, have been doing it for years and run the place like the Marines - strictly business. Thanks, again.

Anonymous said...

I did my service as Judge of Election at Slatington District 3. Normally a Judge of Election lives in the precinct he or she serves but there are cases in which the County sends in a Carpetbagger like me. And the fact is, I did not mind being send up County to an area I did most of my substitute teaching. In fact, I had opportunity to reacquaint myself to the Mayor of Slatington Wayne Neidermeyer who once worked as Captain at the Old East Side Fire Station in Allentown.

At Vigilant Fire Station # 2 on Walnut Street my staff which included another Carpetbagger was brand new. People who came to the polls commented where were the former women who served there.

For the day we had 157 voters who walked in to vote. And we had three Absentee Voters. One voter ( the mom of a candidate on the ballot ) had to fill out a Voter affirmation form before voting and another voter was turned away and directed to a nearby polling precinct where that voter was actually registered.

What was good for me since I live in Allentown is that after delivering the election material to the County that I did not have to drive back to Slatington.

All in all it was a long but good day. Yet I am concerned about the fact that only a few voters under the age of thirty showed up.

Dennis Pearson

Anonymous said...

P.S. --- Actually there were four absentee voters at Slatington for a total of 161 votes.

And again I repeat I actually didn't mind being sent up to Slatington.

And I enjoyed the stories that a few old timers that showed up to the poll told.

Dennis Pearson

Anonymous said...

First thank you and this post made my day. Enjoy yours as well!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Thank you for volunteering"

You don't need to thank me. I was paid $175. Cash.

Anonymous said...

For some of us, $175 for a day is essentially volunteering. Although, $175 and another $67K might get you a house in beautiful West Easton. Thanks just the same for working as you did.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes. I know this might come as a shock, but there's not a lot of money in bottom feeding blogging.