Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away...

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, my nearly 70 years, my almost 840 months, my over 25,000 days of living on this planet of ours, I was a poll worker at an election precinct. I was not, as alleged by my daughter-in-law’s mother, a poll dancer. It’s a play on words, get it? Poll dancer/pole dancer? I think she was joking. I pray to God (with apologies to Snowbrush) that she was joking.

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 awoke awaked awakened woke up opened my eyes at 3:15 a.m. and never shut them again. Shortly after 6:00 a.m., we raised our right hands and swore or affirmed certain things and went right to work following the laminated procedures so that the polls could open at 7:00 a.m. for the voters waiting in line. And all over Georgia, in 159 counties and over 2900 precincts, other people were doing the same things. In all 50 states, lots of other people were doing the same things.

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.

4 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

A great experience and I know you didn't do it for the money so can I have it? Please!

Reamus said...

RWP:

Bravo!

I am proud of your oublic service contribution. We shoul all do it once.

Carolina said...

'Shortly after 6:00 a.m., we raised our right hands and swore or affirmed certain things'

Now I can't stop thinking of a list of 'certain things'. I've thought of certain things that probably weren't included in the original list of 'certain things'.

Never mind.

Well done. I'm sure you were an excellent poll dancer ;-)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Yay for you, RWP! I don't know the total number of votes cast at my precinct, but I was #48 on the list of voters. A good many folk in our town participate in "early voting," but I think there is something special about "Election Day" and choose to wait until then, even if it means standing in line for a while.