Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

My Day At The Polls


It's election day, and I just finished putting in fifteen hours working at the polls.  Quite honestly, it was perhaps the best and most peaceful way to spend election day that I can recall.

I haven't been following the news much yet today, but if things have continued the way that they did the last few weeks, I assume there were anecdotes and news stories going around about long lines, SNAFUs, claims of voter intimidation, etc.  I can't speak to the average experience across this massive country, but I can say that in my one polling place, we had no one try to electioneer, we had no attempts at irregularities or intimidation or unlicensed poll watching.  I did not see a single voter behave rudely to a single poll worker, even as we sorted through people whose names had changed, addresses that didn't match, and voters who had requested absentee ballots but then lost them.  Honestly, people were far better behaved towards one another than at the supermarket.

We helped people in their 90s vote on handicap accessible machines, and we helped young people vote for the first time.  

Ohio state and Delaware County regulations require that a lot of things be done by bi-partisan pairs of election workers, so we spent much of the day paired up with someone from the opposite party, and since politics were off limits we spent the day talking about our families and town history and past experiences (if any) working at elections.  And it was really pleasant.

A couple of the young student election workers told me about their classes.  A black single mom and I talked about our kids and parenting during lockdown and showed each other family pictures on our phones for several hours of the afternoon when not many voters were coming through.  An elderly woman had us all in stitches with a story about how she was sent from one school authority to another and then to her parents in second grade back in 1960 over a picture she had drawn of Santa wearing a hat that no one wanted to hang up -- and which no one explained to her till long afterwards looked suspiciously like a drawing of a penis.  An older black woman told me about how she'd first started working the polls in 1974 because she wanted to see that the people she was helping to register to vote were being treated well at the polls.

And at the end of a day which we'd all started at 5:30AM, we packed up the equipment together after the last voter had left, stacked and rubber-banded the ballots as bi-partisan pairs, and hauled all the equipment out to be driven down to the board of elections.

If something could give you a bit of faith in America and community and civic function in a year which has not always been cheerful, this has been it.

So I'll tune in soon enough to hear how this contest is going, but I'm really glad I spent the day in the peaceful eye of this storm.


Bill Hoog said...

Did the same in Montgomery county Ohio and found the same. People were so nice even the ones who had issues with voting. BTW, they gave you a nice mask! :)

Mary said...

How wonderful to hear such a wonderful Americana type story of this day! So glad it went well for you.