If you can only remember one thing about voting, then remember this: One signature, one vote; that’s why you sign the roster.
Here’s a picture of the inspector of our precinct and another pollworker officially sealing the red ballot box after closing the polling place.
I was so wiped out, I slept nearly the entire day after the primaries, but I did have time to meet for coffee with a friend, who vocalized his reservations regarding the ability of pollworkers.
“The people running my polling place were lucky if they could put their teeth in,” my friend said. “There’s no way the vote is untainted, it’s scary, there’s so much room for error! These were little old ladies who need help putting on their pants in the morning and they are the ones handing out ballots??!” he snorted. From my work at a polling place, I can tell you first-hand that alot of voters automatically assume that the people running the polls are about 2 IQ points away from retardation.
And sadly, he’s probably correct. I’m sure that many people who sign up to work the polls are often elderly or . . . ahem . . challenged in some way. “Call the county – they never have enough help. They’d love to have more competent community leaders running their polling places,” I urged my friend, “get involved! Quit yer bitchin’!”
In addition to worries of pollworker competency, people also get really empassioned about whether their vote ‘counts.’ Especially if you bring up the word ‘provisional.’ It’s like a big, bad, ugly word. One friend of mine said, “Oh, they don’t count the provisional ballots. They just throw them in the trash.”
Well, I’ve got something to say about that and about the entire voting process. We had thirty provisional voters. Every time we give a provisional ballot to someone, we have to watch them to make sure that after they vote that they put their ballot in their matching provisional ballot envelope, before it is deposited into the ballot box. That’s because the provisional ballot envelope has the voter’s information written in on the front, including the ever-important signature as well as all the information necessary to confirm that the person whose ballot is inside that envelope is indeed a registered voter. Because remember, if someone votes provisionally, it’s because their name was not on the roster of registered voters.
So, how much does your vote count? Well, we had one of those thirty provisional voters sneak by us and drop his ballot, sans provisional info envelope, into the counting machine that tallies all the verified voters’ ballots. So, at the end of the night, we had 29 provisional ballots and 30 provisional voters. I know the name of the guy who mistakenly mis-cast his vote because we have to write down the first and last name of everyone who is a provisional voter. So, we had one ballot not verified, shuffled somewhere in the mix and no way to figure out which vote doesn’t count.
So now what happens? The precinct I worked for was one lil’ vote off, and after our long day, we were pretty happy with being one vote from perfection. Now here’s my question – who’s vote shall we dismiss?