My day as a poll worker

Election Day was uneventful, nothing untoward happened. Everyone who came voted, except for a few who came to the wrong place. There were no long lines, no poll watchers, no voter challenged. There were a few cases of questionable registration; so some of those voted by affirmation, meaning their votes will be cast when their registration is confirmed. Workers and voters were universally pleasant, I didn’t see anyone leave unhappy.

At the site where I worked in Chemung County, according to NYS election law, voters state their name and address and sign their name. If their registration is confirmed, they are given a ballot specific for their precinct (one of two) and advised to look at front and back, They indicate their choices and put the ballot into the ballot scanner. Many asked if it mattered which way the ballot was inserted, it doesn’t. If the machine reads the ballot, the voter is offered an “I voted sticker.” Most took one.

A few made mistakes filling in the circles, voted for more than one candidate, or changed their mind. Three tries were allowed, no one needed more than two while I was there; no one questioned the machine’s function or demanded proof that their vote was properly recorded. Most voters seemed familiar and comfortable with the machines.

Setting up the equipment and taking it down is a major effort. We started and 5:15. The ballot scanning machines were already there, but registration computers, ballot distribution tables, and voting booths need to be set up. The two ballot scanning machines were rolled out and made ready. The first voter arrived at 6:00.

About 800 voted; there were eleven poll workers and a Site Manager. We took turns checking registration, giving out ballots, and answering questions at the two ballot scanners. We had two 45 minute breaks.

Voting ended at nine. Voting was slow after 8:00, but one person came at the last minute. Taking down the equipment was more challenging than setting it up. Everything but the ballot scanners was systematically packed up and carried out. We were done by 9:45, a sixteen and a half hour day.

I was impressed by the diligence of workers and voters, and by the efforts by Board of Elections people throughout the year to make sure Election Day goes smoothly.


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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1 Response to My day as a poll worker

  1. annieasksyou says:

    A long day doing your civic duty. Glad it went smoothly.


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