A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Friday, October 10, 2008

And on Nov 5th she will rest

Unless you've been hiding under a rock (which, actually, may not be such a bad idea these days!!), you know that in four weeks we will be having the mother of all elections for President. Whichever side you're on, you have to admit it's a nail-biter. And I picked this year to work the polls!

It's something I always wanted to do. My grandmother used to work the polls when she retired and it sounded interesting and fun. So I signed up for this year's "festivities".

On Wednesday, I had to go to a 3-hour training. For awhile I was the youngest person in the room - which felt pretty good for a change. Then a few more Baby Boomers came in. A lot of these people had done this before, but there were about 7 of us newbies. I've voted by mail ballot for the past several years so haven't really been in polling place for quite some time. In fact, the whole touch screen and scanner things were very new to me. And, holy cow, is this thing choreographed right down to the last minute. We have to arrive at 6:00am to set up. Then the lead person goes to the door precisely at 7:00am and says, "The polls are now open." Ther are special envelopes and seals for everything and it all has to be put in EXACTLY the right spot. My guess is that the crowds will be large this year. Our facilitator told us that there have been close to 1000 people A DAY registering to vote and/or requesting mail ballots.

So, when I asked if it was okay for me to bring a book to read during down times, the more experienced little white-haired ladies snickered. Ah, the inexperienced young.

My position is Judge. That means I get to help people use the touch screen (which we actually have to assemble in the morning) and answer questions about the process. I have three large pamphlets to read and understand before the big day.

We learned how to assemble, use, troubleshoot, and print reports from the touch screens and scanners. At the end of the day (after all the voters are gone and after our leader has gone outside and said, "The polls are now closed") we have to close down the machines and pull out the memory drive with all the votes on it. As I learned how to remove the drive, I had a sudden sense of how important that little piece of hardware would be! It gave me a strange sense "Yikes, this is important shit right here".

The freedom and process of voting is one of those things that makes this country so special. Yes, candidates lie. Yes, we are usually sick of both of them by the time election day rolls around. Yes, no matter how good they seem, they will screw up. But we still have a choice. I've voted since I was 21 (back then you had to be 21 before you could vote so don't think I skipped 3 years). And haven't missed an election since. Even the little, puny local things. This year I'll be part of the process and I'm looking forward to it.

It will be a long day. Probably won't get out of there before 9:00pm. And, since I can't be home glued to the couch watching the returns, I've asked Ed to hone up on his text messaging skills so he can keep me informed.

Wish me luck! Wish our country luck!


namaste said...

finally! you post! geez have i been loitering over here, waiting on you.

wow sandi, you'll be a part of american history. that is exciting! and what a long day it will be for you. whew!

okay, they probably won't let you write down notes. maybe you should bring a hand held recorder and talk into your purse. we want to read about it on your blog. and is your cell phone a camera phone? in case any shoving matches erupt, you'll want to get a good pic!

yes yes, train ed on texting. roger that! i'll be with you in spirit, girlie.

Chatterness said...

can't wait for the "post" after you complete your civic duty. it ought to be a great experience!

Daisy said...

Awesome! I just know you will be friendlier than the sour-pusses we have HERE!

Desert Diva said...

Very cool. I bet you have some amazing stories to tell after the "big day!"

Julia said...

Sounds like an exciting day. So funny about being the youngest worker.

I have to admit I can't text message - in spite of more than one lesson. I guess I didn't listen lol.

I'm also ready for the political mudslinging to stop!!!

Luz said...

post Election day should make for an interesting blog! ;-)