Wednesday, April 27, 2016
A Day at the Polls
It's long day. We start at 6 am, and judges like myself are not free until 9 pm or even later.
In my district, things got off to a bad start at 6 am when I turned on one of the machines and it just died. Fortunately, elections machine technician Dave was able to square me away over the phone in time to be ready for the 7 am opening.
I must have hounded the elections office with at least 30 calls. Someone in the Brown administration screwed up and the phones into the elections office itself were not working until 8:30 am.
One call was a result of my own stupidity, but the rest were attempts to find out precisely where several voters needed to go to exercise their rights.
In all but one case, we got them to the right place. In one instance, we blew it. A young man voting for the first time was not listed, and when I called in, I was told he is not registered. He assured me he was, and I suggested he go home to get his voter registration card. I told him if he couldn't find it, I would let him vote provisionally until elections officials could sort things out. I then called voter registration and learned that he was registered after all, and should be voting in another Hanover precinct. I hope he discovered that when he went home, but never heard back from him.
I also lost a vote. What I mean by that is that we had one more person signed on the register than actually voted. This happens when someone walks away without actually casting his ballot on the machine, and we miss it.
That likely happened when I was operating the machines so that the regular operator could take a break.
I also filled out four provisional ballots by Independents who insisted they were either Democrats or Republicans. One fellow told me he has changed his registration many times, but always shows up as a Republican. I got the opposite claim from a woman who said she is always listed as a Democrat.
Most people were very cheerful, even when bounced to as many as three different districts. Little flag stickers were a big hit. They were brought in by elections worker Ellen Solarek, and really made up for waiting in line or having gone to several different places.
One lady insisted that the elections office had "conveniently" removed several delegate candidates from the ballot. When she went home, she discovered that she had written down the wrong names. She made a point of coming back and saying she was sorry.
It was quite busy, with a little under 50% turnout.
My precinct is at a school,and the principal pulled me aside to ask me not to let people wander down the halls because of concerns raised by some parents. We did our best, and he rewarded us with coffee.