Election Judge, 2018

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Monday night I met my team of election judges when we set up the polling place. I was lucky to get a good team of congenial organized peers. Of the five, four of us had experience and the one newbie was cooperative and on the ball. Some polling places had no one with experience. That’s tough because there are details not covered in training that help things move along smoothly. For example, since we have to account for every ballot, used and not, one judge knew to tell us to count the ballots in each package we opened. There should be 50, but often there were 49 or 48. At the end of the night if you thought there were 50, your count would be off.

Getting up at 4 am is never my idea of fun, but all the judges do so. Some if they live far from their assigned location was up earlier. Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but thousands of citizens do so so others can vote before work. In Illinois polls open at 6 and it takes an hour to do the Election Day prep.

There’s a lot of clerical work to get right and I’d say we did a fine job. It was satisfying to get all the thank you’s we received. Americans, by and large, are a grateful people. It sure helps to hear that “Thank you” when you’re trying to do your work or putting a bandage on your fifth paper cut.

I enjoy seeing all the people who bring their kids to the polls to show toddlers or teens how the system works. One woman brought the ten kids in her at-home day care to the polls. At that time we had about 5 other kids under age 5 in the cosy field house that served as a polling place. That was a surprise. It worked and no one complained about the squealing kids so I have to say our voters are able to do their civic duty without complaining about noise that just comes with sharing a public space.

I was happy about the many first time voters. Usually, they weren’t young, but were just compelled by a family member to do their part.

We’ll get more analysis, perhaps too much, in the days ahead. Some races you’re probably happy with and others you aren’t but I’m happy that we get to go through this process. That’s not to say, I don’t welcome a respite from campaign ads, I suppose we all are.

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