In the wake of persistent election deniers, I decided to get out of my comfortable retirement routine and be a poll worker during the midterm election on 11/8/22. I wanted to have an insider’s understanding on how the whole voting process works.
There was an orientation class and a training guide manual for election board members to take home and be familiar with prior to election day. I was at my assigned polling place at 5:10 a.m. to help set up and get ready when the poll opens at 6. The voting process only took a minute or two if you’re in the right place, already know who to vote for, and there’s no line. Quick and simple. That’s how it was for the majority of the voters.
There’s more work to do for the poll worker and the voter if their information didn’t match with what’s in the computer system: recently moved, redistricting, etc. We let them know where to go. If they choose not to or they can’t (mostly seniors)- for various reasons, they had the option to vote by provisional ballot. It took almost half an hour for some to complete. The poll worker who assisted must sign it before it’s sealed. We gave them the Provisional Ballot Information sheet which explains how the voter can find out whether or not their ballot was counted. They have to call the next day after election. The county have more work to do before the ballot is deemed right to count.
There’s so many checks and balances before, during and after election that cheating will be very difficult if not impossible to do. You can trace it if it happens. Proof of fraud will be easy to find. It’s not a needle in the haystack. The two parties are represented in each polling place. There’s a provision for challengers and challenges. We tallied our records every 2 hrs. We counted and sealed everything at closing time (went home past 8pm). In some cases after election, there’s the recount in hotly contested and close races, and the runoff election when no candidate wins the required majority votes.
America’s voting process works. We all just have to protect our voting rights and vote. Our democracy depends on it. Election deniers are doing it for their own agenda. It’s the highest form of sour graping and it’s dangerous. If we believe and support winning is the only option- democracy will die.
I went home tired but at peace. It was a great learning experience.