Work the vote

You may have noticed in the news lately that there is a major shortage of pollworkers for this coming Tuesday’s presidential election. According to USA Today, there is a shortage of half a million pollworkers right now. This shortage is bound to cause long lines, frustration, and potentially, ballot problems or delayed results in the election.

I’m a volunteer pollworker. I take a day off during regular elections, primaries, and, if necessary, special elections to work at my local polling place. And I’d like to ask you and your friends and family to join me.

It’s not difficult – you need to learn the processes and procedures so that the election rules are upheld, but they’re not complicated. You might be surprised by all the checks and balances that happen in an individual polling place to make sure all voters and ballots are properly accounted for. Don’t get me wrong – the hours are long, the pay is negligible, and dealing with grumpy voters who have been in line for an hour can be challenging. But you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve directly participated in and helped others with the electoral process – and I can tell you, it’s immensely satisfying.

This election promises to have one of the highest turnouts in recent history, and we need more pollworkers to help make sure it goes smoothly. I know we’re all busy, but I think that taking one day out of my busy schedule to help make sure something as important as a presidential election runs smoothly is something I can make time for.

The Los Angeles County Clerk’s office has information on volunteering as a pollworker. It’s not too late to volunteer – training sessions are going on right up until a couple of days before the election. No matter what your political affiliation or opinion, please take a look at your schedule and see if you can help. The integrity of the electoral process depends on volunteer citizens.

And if you can’t volunteer, please be nice to your volunteer pollworkers on election day. :-)

3 Replies to “Work the vote”

  1. I’m volunteering as an inspector for the first time this election. I have no idea what to expect. I’m going to drop off the poll schwag the night before and get in early in the morning. I’ll bring a packed lunch and small thermos of coffee. I think it will be a long day. Civic pride keeps me motivated.

  2. David – expect long hours and not many breaks. See if you can get a friend to bring you dinner. During the primaries, I was there from 6:30 AM – 9:15 PM or so, and the inspector and I (who are friends) had another friend bring us lunch and dinner. That helped a lot. Oh, and make sure at least one of your clerks knows how to do a provisional ballot and knows how to answer most questions so that you can take short breaks.

  3. yes, i deserve any criticisim you care to fling my way for not volunteering ‘cos it involves pre-noon hours.
    but, please let me know if you’d like me to bring you some din-din – or, at least treat you to a post-poll libation at barbara’s?

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