Poll worker

After falling back into that pile of leaves, I’m ready to take on my new venture. On election day, I’ll be manning a poll location in our county. How did I get this honored position, you ask? (She says with tongue planted firmly in cheek.) You know those little boxes that you sometimes check, not believing that anyone ever looks at them, much less takes your little checkmark into consideration? When sending in the change-of-address form for my voter registration a month ago, I decided to check the box that asked if I would like to be a poll worker. I’ve always thought it might be interesting to be on the business end of the voting process, but figured that unless someone died, I wouldn’t have a chance. Those little old ladies and gentlemen seem to love what they do, and they never change, year after year, election day after election day.

Well, that’s apparently what happened. A long-time poll worker in the northern regions of our county passed away a few weeks ago, and the Board of Elections was scrambling to find a Democrat to replace him. Shouldn’t be too difficult a task, right? Well, in our heavily weighted Republican county, it’s easier said than done. And the Ohio law states that there must be at least two Republicans and two Democrats at each polling location. So, out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from Michelle at the Board office, asking me if I was serious about doing it. Sure, why not, I said.

The training was last week, and believe me, it’s quite detailed. I had to attend the one for voting location managers, because I couldn’t make it to the ones for lowly “polling election officials.” I have to say that I’m glad I will be the latter. It is a huge responsibility to make sure that each voting machine corresponds to each number to each lock when the polling location opens, and also when the voting ends, and then to transport all of the monitors (in locked bags) back to the Board office along with the voter registration books. I might possibly be required to ride along with the manager, because there has to be representative from both parties, and I happen to live on the end of the county where the Board of Elections is located.

The polling location where I’m assigned is very small. There are 586 registered voters, only 38 of whom are Democrats (yikes!). But, there are only 139 registered Republicans, and three or four Libertarians. So that leaves a whole bunch of undeclared voters, which means they never vote in any primary elections. Hmmm, I don’t quite understand that way of thinking, but, hey, it’s a free country, and I don’t judge. Yes, I do, but I’m trying not to, if that counts.

It’s going to be a very long day. I will have to leave home at 4:45 a.m. to reach the polling location by 5:30, and, of course, the polls close at 7:30. Michelle apologized several times for sending me so far away, but I’m usually awake that early anyway, so no big deal. I just hope it isn’t foggy, because I really don’t like driving in fog on any occasion, much less to a place where I’ve never been before. Thank goodness for my GPS. She also told me that I will have to bring my own food. Some of the polling locations put on a big spread for their workers, but this one does not. So, that means breakfast, lunch, and perhaps dinner. I’m hoping there is at least a pizza place that delivers. It’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere, so I’m not very hopeful. I’m pretty sure I will also have to take my own coffee and drinking water as well. I don’t even know if they have a microwave.

Since I won’t be able to vote in my own polling location, I had to vote early, which I did last week. Actually, David and I have been voting early since they started doing it in Ohio. You can do it at your own convenience for the most part, and there are no lines. Plus, and I don’t really get this, you don’t have to show an official ID, which is required on Election Day in Ohio. Of course, I hate that we have this law. I think it’s a form of voter suppression. So, anytime I can skirt this particular law, I get a little giddy.

I hope that I don’t fumble around too much, and that the old-timers will cut me a little slack and help me learn the ropes as we go along. I’ll try not to offend anyone by defending the Democratic candidates in a room full of Republican voters. I’ve heard that some people can be pretty vocal about their voting preferences. Ugh. Must show restraint. I do want to invited back.

Go out and vote. It’s an important election. And it’s your constitutional right.

See you soon,

Susan

7 thoughts on “Poll worker

  1. You will be your charming self, and everyone will love you, even the Republicans. 🙂 This sounds like a fun opportunity to do civic service (or is it civil service?). I’m grateful for the cheerful ladies and gents who sit behind the tables in our little precinct. I’m guessing ours is quite heavily Republican as well.

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  2. An upright citizen, is what you are. And a voice in the wilderness, too – according to those stats. I applaud your initiative and wish that your reasonable attitudes and sense of individual responsibility were the norm. Alas, this is not the impression I get of political America, although perhaps it’s only the noisiest and nastiest who get all the press coverage. You made me laugh, though, with the “I don’t judge’ part. I’m right there with you, Susie – judging but really trying to appear as though I’m not. I’m afraid of the day when all my filters fall off and everybody will know what’s actually on my mind. Lovely,lovely,lovely to have you to read. And I took note of your reply to my last comment. I’m inching closer.

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    • Well, I do believe, even though there was a light turnout at that precinct, that almost every registered Democrat turned out to vote. But no matter, our state went decidedly Republican, as was expected. I was treated very kindly by the experienced poll workers, and they said they would like to have me back at the next election. Everything was civil, and there was no rabble rousing, by anyone’s standards. 🙂 And, I managed to restrain myself from commenting on the local gossip, which was easy, since I knew absolutely nobody. 🙂

      Turns out everyone brought food to share, which, thankfully, was relayed to me in an email the day before. I was going to bake muffins, but ran out of time, so Tim Horton’s bagels they got. They were popular, and all but one was eaten. I also brought two big dispensers of coffee, most of which I drank, mostly out of boredom and being confined. I was a little buzzed.

      Inch a little closer, my friend.

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  3. Hi Ruthie!

    It really turned out to be a good experience! The ladies were all very helpful in teaching me the ropes, and welcomed me nicely. We had a low turnout, and it made the day very long, but we had a flurry of voters in the last couple of hours, so it ended well, and everything balanced, which made me feel relieved. 🙂 I learned a lot, and I’ll be better prepared if I’m invited back for the next election.

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  4. Virginia went Republican in national elections for years, but not the last two elections. We’ve become a swing state with an influx of Democrats in Northern Virginia. Our Governor is a Democrat, too. Good for you for volunteering. I’m definitely going to start voting early. We’ve only done it once, but it’s easier. I may even go the absentee route.

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    • My sister-in-law lives in Alexandria, and that is definitely a Democrat stronghold. The saying that whoever wins Ohio wins the (presidential) election holds true, at least it has for the last couple of decades. I’m not sure what the actual statistics are on that. We’ll see in 2016. I’m sure it will be Hillary vs. who knows. It looks like it will be a knock-down, drag-out among the hopeful Republican contenders. I think I will go into hiding when it starts.

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