Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Guest Post

There’s no wireless, but I can still write and prepare for a new post.

My crew is slow but willing to work so that I guess is a good thing. We had our first voter waiting for the poll to open at 7am, hopefully that will be an omen of good yet to come. When I spoke to the County Registrar a few weeks back, she said she only expected a 5-10% turnout. That is beyond sad. They have consolidated 3-5 precincts so that they would have to hire fewer workers, but that means that the workers we have, have 3-5 times the workload. Well, maybe not if we only get 5-10% turnout then maybe actually our workload will be less. Either way, all I know is that my Roster of Voters is so damn big that they had to split it into two!

My cast of characters:
Gentleman number 1 speaks little English, his Korean is impeccable and since I have 4 pages of Park’s and 5 pages of Lee’s perhaps that will come in handy sometime throughout the day, but I doubt it. This is my first time working this polling place but not his and he was quick to point out that I didn’t set it up “the right way”. He insists on working the name roster and is very slow; I see a rotation in our near future.

Gentleman number 2 is the requisite student worker. He is experienced so that helps and enjoys working the box where the ballots are deposited. He speaks very softly, as if he isn’t sure he should be saying something, I have had to ask him to repeat himself many times and it is not even 7:30 yet.

Gentlewoman number 1 is a County worker. I love having county workers. They are “mandated” to work the elections, so this is a regular workday for them plus overtime. So yes, your tax dollars are paying for my convenience. Get over it. She is patient with her co-worker (Mr. I no speak English). She knows all of the positions, and is willing to do anything.

Gentlewoman number 2 is a newbie, but very eager to learn. I love that in a person. She is paying attention to what everyone is doing and asking questions, I see the name roster in her very close future!

Gentlewoman number 3 skipped out on me at 7am as soon as the polls open. To her favor she did arrive at 6am and help me set up and came last night as well to set up the booths. She has court in various places in Southern California today and will pop in and out throughout the day to make sure I don’t fail in my first county election as Inspector. It’s good to have sisters.

And then there is me. I was an Inspector for the first time during the small citywide election last month, but this is my first time in a statewide. I feel ok with my knowledge, am secretly glad the turnout will be low, and am just crossing my fingers that I don’t hurt Gentleman number 1 before the end of the day.

It is now 4pm let me share with you my further discoveries about my colleagues.

Gentleman number one lasted on the name roster until his lunch at 11am. At that point I took it over and have rotated others into that spot, keeping him far away (little was I to find out he was good in comparison, sigh). He is also very antsy, like a 2 year old, cannot sit still and wants to be a part of everything that is happening.

Gentleman number 2 is 18 and a student at a neighboring high school, he is fascinated with the electoral system but is not registered to vote. Huh? I immediately handed him an application and had him fill it out. But then I had to burst his bubble and tell him that didn’t mean he could vote today. He is now on the name roster and will hopefully serve out the remainder of the evening there.

Gentlewoman number 1 is still holding her own on the street roster, after a disastrous try from Gentlewoman number 2 during her lunch hour.

Gentlewoman number 2, let me just say this, “bless her heart”, she is well meaning and tries really hard, but she is dumber than dirt and doesn’t know it. She got completely flustered on the street roster, and then totally flubbed on the name roster as well. Problem? She has no clue how to use a dictionary. Everything is alphabetical, she couldn’t predict that GO would be at least a few pages past GA and would start at the very first page of any letter no matter the name. She is now back to handing out the ballots, can’t mess that up too badly, I hope.
Our turnout so far has been better than I anticipated, not that that is saying much but still.

I have just realized that I handed out my blog cards to some of them workers and will probably end up posting this on a sister site.

Btw Gentlewoman number 3? Yeah, she still hasn’t come back.
And me? I keep plodding along, trying not to fall into my type A personality and take everything over as soon as a bubble appears. I am slowly learning to not jump in and burst the bubbles but to let them float and see what happens. It is a good life lesson.

The band has been practicing since school got out over an hour ago, I feel sorry for the kid’s cuz it is pretty damn hot outside and they have been nonstop. We can feel the vibration of the drums through our feet in the auditorium, so much so that none of us even noticed the earthquake that occurred.

6pm and Gentlewoman number 3 has arrived. By now I have totally given up. The inmates have taken over the asylum and I am just hoping my numbers are not so off that they will allow me to work a poll again one day.

Gentlewoman number 3 is also type-A (go figure, it’s a family trait), and starts trying to do what I had given up on. Trying to make some order out of people who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. When she realizes that Gentlewoman number 2 does not know her ALPHABET then she too just sighs and gives up.

Bringing us back to Gentleman number 1. More than once throughout the day I had to remind him to NOT ask for an ID (it is illegal in California to do so), to NOT place the I Voted sticker onto the chest of the voter and pat it in to place (really? Yes, really), to not stand over the shoulder of a voter WHILE THEY ARE IN THE BOOTH.

8pm finally arrives and we close the polls. Our turnout was double what I expected; we ended up with 220 voters in a precinct of just over 2,000. Sad, I know, but still better than expected.Btw, my numbers were only off by one and I have decided to be more Type-A instead of less next time. If you don’t know your alphabet, you will be relegated to handing out ballots, if you cannot control your urges to do wrong things, you will be asked to leave. I am composing a letter to the La County Registrar’s office to explain my woes regarding my poll workers and to explicitly request that they not be assigned to me again and in fact to request that their services are no longer necessary. Cruel? Not nice? Maybe, but really, a line needs to be drawn somewhere.


Adrienne's House