Thoughts on being a poll worker for post 133..

Today I worked for the Ocean County Board of Elections. I don’t remember taking any oath of secrecy or signing any non-disclosure agreements.  That means I can share with you some thoughts on my first day working as a poll worker. First and foremost, in Ocean County for this election, the polls were open from 6 am to 8 pm. Thos means you need to show up at the polling place no later than 5:15 am. Polls can not close before 8 pm. We were out of the building by 8:20 after dealing with the paperwork and closing up the district. The pay, here for this election, was 200.00 flat rate for the day. You get a one hour break.

Most of the poll workers I met today ( not the county people in charge of making sure we did our job) were retired. I was probably one of maybe four people in the building working that was of an age less than the retirement age. The oldest person I met working was 82 years old. The oldest voter that I dealt with was born in 1916. Yikes!  In the district where I worked there are approximately 1024 registered voters. Today, 149 of them showed up to vote.  That works out to about 14.5 percent voter turnout. There may have been write-in ballots that we are not privy to. But not enough to bring that percentage up to something respectable.

I started out in one district. After about two hours one of the county poll workers stopped by each district to check in and make sure that things were working out and going ok. At this point Mrs. Rules informed the county poll worker that their district (not the one I was in, a different one) had three Democrats and no Republican. This is a major no-no. So after a few phone calls the poll worker asks me to leave my first district and join the district without a Republican.  I agreed. What’s the difference, same room just twenty feet closer to the door. The district I left now had three people. They had 52 more people come and vote with them.

My new group of poll workers included two (I made three) newbies and Mrs. Rules (a veteran poll worker). Mrs. Rules wanted to be in charge. We were all new, so in charge of the pond she was. The pond reference is from Yertle The Turtle by Dr. Seuss. The day went fine, boring. I mean boring. I saw and said hello to some of the people I knew.  As we got closer to the 8 pm closing time, the other four districts in the room start slowly putting things away, small things that don’t really add or subtract from the voting experience. Signs and stuff , the machines, the books and all the necessary parts needed to hold an election were being left intact. Mrs. Rules would not let us touch anything until 8 pm. We even discussed the time. My Verizon phone said 8 pm, here ATT phone said 7:59, so we waited about ten seconds for her time to change.

In retrospect, an hour post-election employment, would I do it again?  I think so. Hopefully I will get a more moderate person to work with. And not being the newbie, it will be less show and tell for me. I understood the job and did it well. I just did not know what to expect at the next turn or voter. Should you do it? Why not. It gives you a whole different insight into the electorial process. Bring a book, a cushion for you chair, the charger for your phone, and coffee and food in the morning and during the day is quite acceptable.

There are a few more stores, but not for tonight.  I leave you with a picture taken In June, 2008 on my birthday. Everybody sing!


Me, DS1 and DS2 @ my birthday 2008