Monday, February 26, 2007

Election Judges

I recommend that people who are really interested in helping our government work should do a stint as an election judge. I became one in a somewhat sideways manner. By Illinois rules I am considered a Republican because I last voted in a primary election as a Republican. Until I vote in a primary as something else I will continue to be considered a Republican. Even though this year I am the Vice-Chair of the Metro-East Libertarians. And one of the few Republicans in the county where I live. I have a friend who is very actively Democrat. And yes, we do have enjoyable conversations about politics. Any how, she knew that her precinct was going to need another non-Democrat as an election judge for the Nov 2006 General election. By IL law, it is going to be a long time before someone other than Repub or Dem will be able to serve as an election judge. I agreed to do it. The $50 for training and $150 for working election day was not actually an incentive since I lost money by not going to work that day.

It was an interesting and exhausting day. At the polling place by 5am (I often go to bed between 2-4am) and not able to leave until almost 8pm. But what got me was the inability of one of judges to follow the rules and instructions. And I'm sorry to say that twice I allowed myself to be coerced into following her lead. I promise you that it will not happen again.

Background: this part of IL uses the fill in the dot type ballets. Like a standardized test.

Incident 1: In setting up the little booths that people would use to fill out their forms the openings were suppose to be turned towards a wall. She insisted that they face the other way so that we could see if someone needed help. But also reducing the voters privacy.

Incident 2: "To save time" at the end of the day she insisted that we all pre-sign the paper work. Because the other judges agreed I only made a small issue of it. And then at the end of the day she almost violated election law and our sigs would have been on the paperwork. She was not going to count the write in votes! "Because they won't matter and don't apply to us anyway." There I put my foot down and when she continued to fight me I got ready to use my cellphone to call the county sheriff. She backed down.

I'm wondering how the primary/municipal elections are going to go this spring?


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