Monday, November 03, 2008

On election eve

Tomorrow morning election officials will arrive at their assigned polls at 5 AM. There is an elaborate process of unsealing the machines, signing witness documents, arranging the sign in books, to ensure that the election is properly conducted.

Through out what promises to be a very busy day, election officers will work to administer the election. They will have to cope with anxious voters, and in many cases, long lines.

There will be partisan poll workers who are too aggressive with voters, who will have to be informed that they need to tone it down. There will be some partisan polls workers who engage in inappropriate voter challenges. It will be the job of the election officers to make sure that poll watchers do not cross the line of what is appropriate. At the same time it is the role of partisan polls workers to make sure that election officers do not violate election rules. Both play a crucial role in a democratic society.

Election officers must remain at the polls until the votes are counted. In a presidential year that could be as late as midnight. That means working for nineteen hours in a politically charged atmosphere.

In addition to the usual tensions, this year election officials must cope with unprecedented mistrust in the voting machines.

This is a difficult job, please treat the elections officers with respect.

No comments: