Working the polls is certainly an eye-opener in the American system. It also is a great way to connect with friends and neighbors.
Yesterday we were all at the polls by 5:00 to begin our duties. (Our inspectors were there earlier.)
I am not sure you have worked the polls before, but here is a little synopsis of jobs before the polls open!!
There are forms to sign...at least a dozen of them. We have to initial the back of all ballots...the initials of a Democrat and a Republican. (The poll clerks work in teams of a Democrat and a Republican.) Did you ever look on the back of a ballot and see these initials?
We have to all inspect the machines and turn them on as a team. Signs must be hung, books checked over, sheets to be gathered for tally marks.
Each team (there were four teams at the Catholic church) must take the oath given by the inspector. At 6:00 on the dot, the person in charge of our entire area (head inspector?) opens the doors and declares the polls open with the words, "Hear ye, hear ye...". I love that moment.
Yesterday there were lines waiting for us. As a poll clerk we must find each person, have each one sign and choose the ballot they would prefer, Democrat or Republican, for the primary.
There are always those folks who do not understand how primaries work and want to split their ticket, or don't know who to vote for.
There are, of course, spoiled ballots, discrepancies, and all kinds of problems that are hard to even imagine.
We work from 6-6 taking a few breaks for food which is always provided for by the ladies of the Eastern Star. Even though we sit most of the day, we are very hungry!!
At 6:00 in the evening, again the doors are closed with the words, "Hear ye, hear ye...". Then the work begins.
We must count all ballots, signatures, spoiled ballots, etc., and everything must balance. We had a discrepancy of 100 which kept us there until 7:30 in the evening until Lee (my friend, colleague, and judge in my area) found an easy arithmetic error. Again, we signed all the papers, took down signs, and wearily closed the lights. The ballots had to be escorted to the court house by our inspector and a judge, one from each political party.
The fun began later in the evening as we all met at Monuments Pizza for pints of beer, pizza, stories, and to watch the numbers come in on the mounted television.
By the time I got home I just crawled into bed.
It was a good day, and one that I will again repeat in November.
We had a record number of voters...good job, Indiana, for voting.