To become a poll worker, all I had to do was fill out an application back in August, submit it to our county’s Board of Elections, be accepted, be assigned to one of the county’s 44 precincts, and attend a half-day of training at the county office building in October. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to the precinct in which I vote, so I didn’t have far to drive on election day.
It turned out to be a long day. I had set my alarm for 4:50 a.m. because 6:00 a.m. was the time we had been told to arrive at the precinct. However, I
Nearly 1150 persons voted in our precinct on Tuesday, and I knew only about 25 of them personally. The rest were complete strangers to me. The county provided us with various 21st-century electronic devices (scanners, computer data bases, touch screens) to help us carry out our assigned tasks. By “us” I mean two groups, the seven persons who were assigned to our precinct and all of the poll workers in all of the other precincts. During the day I had the pleasure of helping four new U.S. citizens who hailed from Brazil, Australia, Ireland, and Vietnam vote in an American election.
The polls closed at 7:00 p.m. and our work ended around 8:00 p.m., 14 hours after we had raised our right hands and 17 hours after I had started my day. I drove home and slept the sleep of the just.
It was a wonderful day. It was a memorable day. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and I plan to. For once, I had served my community instead of expecting my community to serve me. Some of us are old enough to remember having heard President John F. Kennedy say something about that at the end of his inaugural address in 1961.
Don’t tell anybody, but I actually felt like dancing.