Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Heart Attack-yak-yak

A poll manager had a heart attack yesterday. His wife was working the poll too. He wouldn't let her go to the hospital with him. One of the other election technicians took over his poll for a few hours and I covered the tech's precincts. My own are much smaller and a bit more self-sufficient. By the end of the night the wife said he was still in ER and waiting for a room. Apparently he has multiple health problems. She seemed pretty calm about the whole thing.

Considering the extremely high turnout, and how slow the machines were, and how complicated the ballots were (3 confusing amendments), we managed to get our very large precincts closed fairly quickly. I don't think we had any in Indian Land that stayed open more than an hour past closing time.

We had some good poll watchers this time, too. I have always thought that most of the poll watchers were kind of useless. They tend to sit in a chair and sort of glare or look grumpy at the workers...almost as if they don't trust us to do what's right. Then they will run out like a shot as soon as the doors are closed for the day, not sticking around to see us shut down the machines. Most of the time they are not there when we open in the morning either. It seems like they just like to periodically check the books and that's it.

But last night we had a poll watcher at the precinct that I was closing and she stayed right to the bitter end. She watched us close the polls and then noted the numbers on the tally tape. I commented to her that I was pleased she stayed. We chatted about the closing it all works and why we do the steps we do. If poll watchers are wanting to watch the process for irregularities, the time to watch is opening and closing. The sketchiest moments in the polls are when you are getting everything open and closed. That's where security breaches can occur. I've not seen it happen, but it can. Seals can be broken, data cards could be mis-handled... all manner of things.

I did run into one poll watcher that I wanted to shove. I was relieving someone at the book so he could take a lunch break. This watcher was sitting right at my elbow, noting each name I checked and marking them off on a list. She has the right to do that, but the manager of that precinct, in my opinion, should not have allowed her to sit right there. She should have just been allowed to periodically check the book against her list. She was sitting so close that every time she moved in her chair, it would vibrate mine. I felt like elbowing her in the chops. And if I were a voter, I would have objected to her checking my name.

So it's all over and for the first time we have an African-American President. I think this is going to be cool. I didn't vote for him, but I'll certainly be giving him the most benefit of the doubt. Frankly, I'm more concerned about Biden and Nancy Pelosi anyway.

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