Pollworker Inspector

I was the Inspector at Precinct 2006 in Visitacion Valley yesterday. I had 4 clerks to help me. It was good. The quiet, reverent sound of voting is 1 part library, 1 part church. And like both of those, when it gets really quiet in the middle of the day, your eyelids can get pretty heavy.

We had about 250 people over the course of the day. About 1/2 before 10am but it was a steady slow stream all day.

The biggest excitement was when I realized at 6pm that the steps up to the polling place were poorly lit. A bit of scrambling around and turning on lights inside the building (the exterior lights, we found are on a timer) remedied that.

Oh, and at one point, the ballot machine, called the “Optech Insight” stopped making the happy noise when ballots where inserted. Instead of “da-dum da-dum!” It would go “da-dum!” or “da!”. I called in and they said as long as the numbers on the front keep incrementing, it’s all good. I rebooted the ballot machine and it and it started making happy noises again.

There were a few people that had trouble with the machines, voting for 3 presidents and wondering why the machine kicked back their ballot. A calm voice and patient explaining got everyone through without a single real problem.

At the training class last week, I remember cringing and mouthing “Oh my god!” when someone asked if White-Out was ok to use on a ballot because that’s what she had been given when she had made a mistake on her ballot. The teacher kept her cool and calmly explained that Inspectors should give them a new ballot instead of using White-Out.

And I got this nifty pin :-)

My FED ([something] Election Deputy) was great, very helpful when I had questions. I called the Election Hotline a few times with questions and they knew their stuff. The pickups were funny… the first pickup, for the “important” electronic voting information was carried out by these cops that looked like… well they had all the cool cop equipment. On one officer I counted about 6 magazine holders and a utility belt that rivaled Batman’s. He was all shiny and “officery”. I got a glimpse at the grip of his pistol and man, did it shine! The second pickup was for all the paper ballots… 200 pounds of paper. These two officers were 8 inches shorter than the first-pickup guys. They had a more “down to earth” feel. Although I’m sure that bullets from any of these cops guns would stop bad guys, I’m sure that the first-pickup officers simply wouldn’t have to draw their guns as often since their appearance forcefully puts forth an “I am in charge” vibe. Interesting.

And to make the image of the second officers complete, since they had to haul so much paper, they drove a mini-van.

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