Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My District Primary

Man, I'm tired. Yesterday was a long and busy day (16 hours of non-stop action), and I achieved my primary (pun intended) goal: a clean and legal election with an accurate count of votes. Not that it was trouble free, but I managed to keep things running reasonably smoothly throughout the day. Turnout was very high, as was enthusiasm, but the final results were mixed. Like the rest of the nation, I guess.
A few observations:
There are a lot of poorly informed people out there. I'm sorry to have to tell you that, yes, you must be registered to vote. That is the law. And you are only allowed to vote in the district where you are registered to vote. One of my rolls as an election inspector (the highest authority at the polling place) is explaining to people why they can't vote if they aren't registered. I was even called a "nazi" one time yesterday, but, like it or not, these are the laws in place. My role in the election requires that I comply with, and enforce the laws, regardless of how I feel about them. One simple example is that Arizona has what are called "closed" primaries, where only Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only Republicans in the Republican primary. "Independants" are screwed (and there are a lot of independants in Arizona). I'm not a fan of that rule, but on election day I have to enforce it. To all you independants that I had to turn away yesterday, I'm sorry, but the rule has been repeated in all the news media over the past few weeks. Talk to your legislators if you want to change the system.
My district includes the university, and the youth turnout was impressive. Compared to 2004 (I ran the same polling place in 2004), I'd estimate a third more college students voted. Democratic turnout was way up, while Republican turnout was pretty consistent with the 2004 numbers. While he didn't win the state, Barack Obama won big in my district, probably because of the college student vote. On the Republican side, McCain dominated.
I do have to briefly have to rant at Ron Paul supporters: I respect your enthusiasm, but you cannot campaign inside the polling place. It's a simple rule. The polling place is nuetral territory. The 75' limit signs are posted around the polling place. Rally all you want outside the 75' perimiter. All the other campaign followed the rules, but I had to deal with the "Paul people" multiple times (and why didn't your mothers teach you some basic manners?).
A basic partisan difference: Republicans come more prepared than Democrats. Arizona does have an ID requirement. It's fairly liberal as to what qualifies as ID (such as 2 pieces of mail from utilities, banks, or government agencies), but you have to have something. Republicans step up to the check in table with ID in hand, whereas Democrats are likely to require prompting. I'm not sure what it means, but I do think it reflects part of our current political climate.
Paper ballots are a must. Our county uses an optical scan system with paper ballots, and while I've read about problems with optical scan systems, ours worked fine. The final physical count matched the scanner count exactly (our county hand counts 10% of districts, and mine was one of the ones chosen at random for recount). I feel good about that. Regular readers know that I have strong political opinions, but on election day I only care about fairness and accuracy. To all those folks worried about election cheating, I say "get involved" to make sure that all votes are counted. It's easy to become an election worker (call your local elections department to volunteer) and become a part of the process. We can prevent cheating by being present to witness the process in action.


Distributorcap said...

as i said in my post -- the election workers in my district are as old as betsy ross --- but they work real hard and i brought them coffee...

py, i think it is terrific you do this - i am actually not allowed to since i work for the media

Anonymous said...


May I ask you for ONE more bit of Civic Help before you rest?

Whilst we're waiting forGeorge's Promised Prayers to roll in, down here in the Tornado-Stricken Mid-South, I might recommend some DIRECT HUMAN INTERACTION.

This Is My Best First Start To Help My Region.

As Scout Prime is to NOLA, I am to the Mid-South area (I LIVE here, and was Live-Blogging these horrible storms all night), and have started to get the help-ball rolling down here. Some of you know where I work. I started a Food Drive there today for the Mid-South United Way Food Bank.

As the area affected is so broad and detached, and everyone in the Country was distracted by politics last night, as yet, there is no central assistance hub set-up. So, at the link, above, you'll find the two agencies with the broadest radius to help the area right now. Both take DIRECT donations.

A small-blog swarm on that (or this) post would be greatly appreciated by more people than just me. I can't describe how wide-spread the damage is down here. It's enormous. The Media, per usual, is only just now waking up to the situation, after their Super-Duper-Let's-All-Wet-Our-Pants-Together- Tuesday Political Hangover. Like NOLA, these are REALLY poor folks down here, and have nothing, and nowhere to go.

A short post about this at YOUR Blog, linking either to my post, above, or directly to the two Orgs mentioned in the post above, would sure be a big help, and would be greatly appreciated by many people who are relying on help. They are all that we have right now.

I just donated a deer's worth of ground venison, along with the 100 pounds of rice and quart-sized ziplock bags that they said that they needed at the United Way Mid-South Food Bank, when I phoned them this morning. Their pantry is BARE, and I'll be loading them up with all the potatoes, rice, veggies, bags, and other staples that I can fit in my truck tomorrow.

This is serious Red State country, and a flood of help from the DFH Left would REALLY make a big difference in a number of good ways.

I thank you all in advance.

Click Here for more about what's going on down here. It's all that I am writing about right now. Help is needed.

Your humble peer,


pygalgia said...

MF, I'm there for you.