Went to pick up my election supplies on Saturday morning (as usual). Got two(!) controllers, and two(!) supply boxes. Hauled in the (heavy!) supply box with a measure of dread. The supply box contains the rosters used to process each incoming voter. One election they gave me two different “precinct” lists, so each voter’s name had to be checked in two lists, taking twice as long. Fortunately that election had a low turnout, so hosting the local polling place with inefficient lists was not a problem.
This election we expect a big turnout, so anything inefficient could make my day not fun, and could make long waits for voters. Was greatly relieved to find a single precinct list, split alphabetically into two lists - a very good thing.
Called the four adult poll workers to verify that they knew and were going to show up at my polling place. The very first year I volunteered to work the polls, they made me an Inspector. I did not call the poll workers to make sure they would show up (had no reason to think that was needed), and no one else showed up! The ROV re-assigned one girl from another polling place to help. Two people are not really enough, and that made for a very long and hard day.
In the afternoon talked to two, and left messages for two others. I cannot call the “student clerks” to verify, so I have to trust that the ROV (or someone will make sure that the high school kids show up. In the past the high school students have done a terrific job, so they are very welcome. (The fact that I have three teenagers may help, in that I have no trouble dealing with kids of that age.)
In the evening I got a call from another poll worker assigned to my location, but he was not on my list! The ROV had told him (not me) there was going to be ten(!) people assigned to my location. News to me….
A couple hours later I got another unexpected call from someone who had a table and chairs to deliver, on instructions from the ROV. News to me! Asked about the chairs - hard metal folding chairs - and said no thanks. (Not going to inflict those on poll workers.) Asked for two tables - if they had them. Should be delivered on Monday. Otherwise I’m going to pick up a couple folding tables from the hardware store on Monday.
Since the new guy was assigned to the Registrar of Voters, each election has been a bit better organized than the prior - so I give the folks at the ROV a lot of credit.
Still, it would be nice to know some things ahead of time, such as:
- How many voters are in my precinct? (Found out the Saturday before the election!)
- How will the roster be organized? (Found out the Saturday before the election!)
- How many voting machines will I get? (Found out the Wednesday before the election!)
- How many controllers will I get? (Found out the Saturday before the election!)
- How many poll workers will I get? (Knew of 3 as of a week ago on Friday, and 8 on the Wednesday prior to the election.)
Not that I want the above to sound overly critical. For low-turnout elections (most elections) it does not matter much, and I am willing to adapt to whatever comes along. In recent years the ROV has done better job each year. Still - this election looks to be big, and I want to do whatever I can to make sure voters have to wait as little as possible.
A reflection of scale and the interchange of ideas on the Internet. Of the 1900-odd voters in my polling area, I bet none have any idea I keep a weblog….