The wheels are turning.

erin nametag

Yesterday was election day and I worked the polls. My elite title is ‘Roster Judge’. In simple terms it means I sit at a table with 2 other people looking friendly, yet official. In front of me is a sign ‘A-G’. If your last name falls under those letters then you have come to the right place. Otherwise, step on down. I hold the key to many secrets. Actually, it’s a spiral bound book that has all the registered voter’s names and addresses, their precinct number and a box to sign in that better match the picture of their already-scanned signature. It’s my job to check identities, to ensure people are who they say they are and also to prevent them from voting twice. I possess a wealth of knowledge, culled from extensive training. In a world of uncertainty and constant change, it’s strangely comforting knowing that whatever goes wrong, there is a way to solve it and it’s all detailed in our manuals. The first time I manned this post was last year’s presidential election. Thankfully this time I just had to take a refresher course and be on my way.

We are required to gather at our assigned polling location at 5:30 a.m. I don’t usually even entertain the thought of getting up that early ever and it’s slightly unpleasant. There is always a bake sale selling stale doughnuts and store-bought baked goods to lure in profits for the school. One of my fellow co-workers was kind and bought enough semi-tempting treats for everyone in our group and at 8:30 once the sugar hit my system I suddenly felt alive.

Once inside our super secret lair, also known as the school gymnasium, it’s a mad dash to get ready for voters. Carts are dropped off the day before from the Board of Elections, which includes all our voting machines, work booklets and various other supplies. This rag-tag bunch then sets out on their assigned tasks to start the day. Because of course, there is always some joker there at 6:00 a.m. even though our location doesn’t officially open until 6:30.

Everything comes to us completely locked and sealed and then a magic spell is cast on it for good measure. Seriously though, they take really immense measures to ensure everything is on the up and up for each election. There are seals to be taken off of each lock on the cart, on each machine, on each box of supplies. Each must be recorded. Then when it’s all done, everything gets new seals (which are also recorded) ensuring quality and freshness or at the very least you can certainly tell if anything was tampered with.

Working with this group is very much like seeing extended family at the holidays. It starts off a little awkward. Then you hang out, have discussions, disagreements, snack and listen to middle school kids make lots of bad choices on their instruments. Add in some old-fashioned, good-natured ribbing and by the time it’s all over at 8:30 p.m., you are hugging and saying goodbyes with promises to see them all next year (or rather election.) It’s an experience. One that’s interesting and for one day a year, I like being a part of.

I love voting sticker

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