Friday, May 23, 2014
The Elections Office Is Looking For a Few Good Poll Workers
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.