Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The story of my first time to work an election began with a phone call from the county clerk and ended with a phone call from the county judge. It began months ago when I agreed to be the election judge for the precinct. I had a training session on how to run the poll book computer, and I spent an evening studying the laws and rules. I felt mostly ready but still quite nervous. I picked up my election materials - poll book, ballots, ballot box - the evening before election day. I set up the tables and chairs that evening as well.

Election day began at 6:15am when I arrived at the polling place. My two clerks and I got everything on my end set up for the Texas constitutional amendments. Also at my polling place was a team of workers for the college bond election and another team for a municipal tax/bond election. When the first voter came through, it turned out that she was at the wrong polling location. You have to vote where you were registered, not necessarily where you currently live, so we sent her away. The next person who came was what my training book called an "ideal voter." The ideal voter has their ID with them, is on my list for my precinct, and still lives at the address on record. Horray! However, when I tried to print their little confirmation sticker for them to sign, my printer wouldn't respond. Oh, disaster! Fortunately one of the county officials was there, and she pointed out that I had my printer hooked to the computer but didn't have the printer's power cord plugged in. Problem solved, and the day begins.

Around 5:30pm (with an hour and a half left to go), it became clear that we were going to run out of ballots in 30 minutes or less. 0_0 Phone calls revealed that a deputy would bring us more ballots ASAP. He arrived about 5 minutes after we'd run out with 30 more ballots. Unfortunately, we ran out AGAIN around 6:30pm. After some more phone calls, it was suggested that we go visit the closest precinct to see if they had any ballots. Before our runner got back, the other precinct judge had shown up asking US if WE had any extra ballots. More phone calls. It was then approved that I should print some extra ballots from our sample ballots. For the last 10 minutes of voting, 12 xeroxed ballots got us through the day, although some people who came in the window from 6:30 to 6:45 just decided to give up and went home.

So the polls closed, we packed up and drove the ballots and computer over to the old jail. The workers there expressed their shock and awe that we had run out of ballots. I was not that shocked since this has happened before in our precinct. Folks vote 'round here, and I sincerely thank them for it. Hopefully the higher-ups will start catching on when they print our ballots next time.

Oh, and thanks to the Baptist church for the use of your facilities and especially for those brownies! Nom nom nom!


linda.simons said...

Sounds like you are suited to this kind of job!

tank said...

Thanks! I survived somehow. I hesitate to say that I enjoyed it for fear that they'll give me more responsibilities. But it's possible that I did. Enjoy it, that is.