Thursday, October 11, 2012

Poll-Worker Training

Okay, so maybe I'm just kinda sorta, a-little-bit maybe, intimidated.

I went to training this afternoon for those of us who work the elections.  Voter-ID was shot down by a Madison judge.  So today we talked about what proves identity, what we can and cannot ask for, as well as what proves residency.  [Mind ... spinning....]  Since the poll-workers in our group really seemed to care about the integrity of an election (that is, everybody having his vote counted, and only one vote counted per person) there were lots of questions.  "Wait!  You don't mean to say ...."???   Same-day voter-registration is fraught with problems!

We know that turnout will be exceptionally high for next month's election.  At the end of the training session, one of the poll-workers asked just how high a turnout the clerks anticipate.  They said "high 90s."  HIGH NINETIES?!  They told us that our county had the highest turnout rate in the country for the last presidential election.  It sounds like it could be a very long day.

Write-ins?  Do you know how much longer that makes a poll-worker's day?  We have to be there a minimum of 15 hours as-is.  Every write-in ballot makes the day longer, as we have to record them by hand. 

One of the poll-workers reported that she had received phone calls at home, asking if she usually voted absentee or in person, and what time she would be voting.  She was horrified.  Why would anybody want that information unless they were scheming to submit absentee ballots in the name of other voters, bumping their votes? 

They told us that there would be "observers."  I don't know if one side or both will be there to observe.  But some of the poll-workers are aware that at least one campaign is training observers to be there to watch closely.  We were taught what observers can and cannot do.  We were warned that out-of-state "observers" will sometimes cause conflict, suggesting voting irregularities because different states do have different laws.  (For instance, one time I was registering voters, and I had a 17-yr-old come to vote.  He wasn't trying to scam anybody or hide his age.  The state they'd recently moved from allowed 17-yr-olds to vote in the primary if they'd be 18 by election day.  He and his brother and his dad initially thought I was disenfranchising the teenager.  Nope.  Wisconsin law doesn't allow that.)

Military votes can come in via online or email ballots.  That will be interesting.

I think I better make a crockpot of substantial soup to take with me that day. And hearty bread.  And beverages.  And cookies.  

What a chance to say HI to all the neighbors!

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