You may have heard the following quotation: “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
The agony of boredom describes early voting from the election workers’ perspective.
How about a peek into the lost two weeks in the life of this writer?
We cannot speak for why folks sign up to work elections. This writer did not ask the other workers, “What possessed you to do this?” But, she is happy to share her reasons.
Since Hubby’s passing, facing the endless road without him can be challenging.
Last year, this writer dipped her toes into the world of election workers and found it was not something she wanted to repeat. But then a year later, just like the pains of giving birth, the memory of the negatives diminished.
Then the email arrived from the Election Judge. “Do you want to work a few days of early voting?” It was time for this writer to climb out of her hermit-like existence, and she said yes.
A few days later, another email followed. “We will have new machines. I will need more trained workers. Can you work the full two weeks as well as Election Day? You have to attend training classes.”
Again, this silly lady agreed. To her surprise, the training proved interesting, and the new election process intrigued her. People mark their choices on a computer screen. The machine prints a paper ballot with their choices. The voters check the ballot and insert it in another machine that scans and records their votes.
The early voting site for her group was in the City Hall of a relatively small, but growing town with a population of over 13,000. Before long, the writer remembered, too late, an important reason why she vowed: “never to work elections again.” The building is not a healthy environment. Do they ever change the air filters? Once again, she developed a sinus infection.
As you might guess, there are rules. For example, voters could bring notes but were not allowed to use their cell phones even if their notes were on the phone.
One vertically challenged fellow sporting an Air Force cap, who was as wide as he was tall, marched in and began marking his choices on the computer screen. The Election Judge, a twig of a lady of undisclosed years, admonished the voter, “Sir, you cannot use your cell phone in here.”
“I’m not using it,” he replied, continuing to vote while they argued back and forth. What could the judge do besides talk? She could not physically oust him.
Once he cast his ballot, the guy announced in a loud voice, “Carry on” and marched out. Due to his height, we guessed he could not have been a pilot. Was he a Sargent in the mechanics’ pool? Whatever his job in the Air Force, living with him must be a hellacious delight.
As voters trickled in, the well-seasoned folk all began to look alike. The men were of slight build or tall with concrete bellies that preceded them wherever they went. Some of the ladies appeared thin and frail, but most looked well-fed with untethered, pendulous breasts. More often than not, the workers and voters knew each other, slowing the election process with endless chatter about ailments and relatives.
The judge often reminded election workers of the no talking rule while people voted. But it was a case of “Do as I say and not as I do” because the judge had lengthy chats with friends and relatives.
As the workers became acquainted during those interminable hours without the appearance of a voter, a disturbing fact emerged. Many were born, married, and continue to live in the same town.
“I was born right behind where Wal Mart is, and my grandpa owned the land along the creek up there.”
Those roots are too stagnant for this writer’s taste.
Does this lady plan to return next year for paid naps and reading books for 12 hours daily? Doubtful.