I am an Election Judge
Twice every two years, I spend a day at the polls, helping my fellow citizens to do their part to ensure the continuation of democracy. Yesterday I acted as a ‘check in’ judge in Maryland’s primary elections. It makes for a very long day. I got in at six in the morning, the polls opened at seven and closed at eight, and verification of results and integrity, and clean up, were finally finished at nine.
Mind you, this was for the primaries. In an overwhelmingly Democratic district. A district which encourages early voting and mail in voting. We handled 316 voters all day.
As you can imagine, I got a lot of knitting done. A lot of reading as well (a book of Neil Gaiman short stories I got for my birthday) and catching up with my fellow judges, most of whom have worked this precinct for three or four cycles at least. The elderly couple who said last cycle was their last was back. They seem to be doing better health wise, and Maryland always needs more Republican judges. The young lady with the thing for pink – she got married over the summer.
It’s always interesting. This year was particularly so, because the elementary school we were using is in the midst of rather extreme renovations. We asked the construction workers to take down the bar between the double doors to make sure that we were wheelchair accessible (they put it up again when we closed the polls). I didn’t even know they could do that. The woman who suddenly decided that she had changed her party affiliation a week ago but ‘it hadn’t gone through’ because she wanted to vote in the Republican primary was given a provisional ballot. If they find her ‘lost’ paperwork I’m sure it will get counted, otherwise, probably not. There was also a Republican who was bothered that we didn’t ask for his identification. I explained that we had never had a case of two people claiming to be the same voter at this precinct, and he seemed surprised. We agreed that Marylanders ‘are just better’. Seriously, half the precinct goes to church with the ‘Queen Bee’ judge, and most of the rest were neighbors of one of the other judges.
People’s reactions to me knitting were interesting, and universally positive. The Provisional judge (who handled the last-minute Republican) had an ‘oh, yea, I should have brought mine!’ reaction (she made a lot of headway through her murder mystery though). One of the judges from the other precinct which meets in the school brought a project as well. One voter told me his wife has just learned, and that he thought there was something addictive about it (I agreed). Only one voter confused the knitting with crochet. I told the story of why I was knitting the blanket a couple of times, and got to explain the process of double knitting a few times as well. Dozens of compliments on the colors and the piece as a whole. Did wonders to my ego.
Anyway, we locked up around 9. I thought I’d be ‘clever’ and cut across the dimly lit maze of ‘portables’ which surround the school to get to the parking lot where my car was (we’d moved them so that voters had easier access). By the time I got home it was nearly ten. A long day indeed.
Mom loves her mantis (I knew she would). Now we just have to hope it doesn’t become a very complicated cat-toy…