Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Reflections on the Election...

I need to give someone credit for this joke because in this day and age of stuff spreading by social media I like to get my sources right. I heard it or read it somewhere, I forget where and I think it's really appropriate today. It was about the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Say you are broken down on the side of the road with a flat tire. A Republican speeds by and does not stop to help. A Democrat stops to help but in the act of changing your flat he or she accidentally sets fire to your car. I think last night the car got set on fire. My horse in the 2016 Presidential election lost the race. 

I don't think I have been in shock as some I have talked with today are. Maybe that's because I was an alternate election judge yesterday and worked the polls helping people vote. To do this I had to be an American and not of a party. So this is not a story of how I feel after the election but what I did. Some surely tire of this blog because there is a lot of "this is what I did" but since there were questions about voting and some misinformation of the process I think I can speak to that by telling of my experiences on election day working the polls, observing other humans and maybe add some facts which I hopefully will explain correctly. 

First off I think Angelina County gets it right. Good support and training from the Tax Assessor Collectors office. 

No votes were changed by a voting machine.

Which ever party got the most votes in the last governors race determines which party will supply the judge. The other party supplies the other judge. I was the alternate judge and the two clerks were from the other party also. This is the second time we had worked together as a team and we work together well. 

Angelina County does not use paper ballots. It's a county by county choice and just across the line our neighbors may use them. There is a provisional ballot and while it is printed on paper it is not a paper ballot. There are reasons for a provisional ballot such as the voter insists on voting and you can not identify him as eligible or maybe he's not in the right place but wants to vote where he is so he does get to vote but the judge must inform him that a provisional ballot will probably not be counted.  One gentleman came in and while I did not have to deal with him the clerks commented he was rudely demanding a paper ballot. Just wanting paper is not a provisional reason.  Turns out he was in the wrong voting location and got sent on his way. Another young man wanted a paper ballot because he desired to write in a candidate. As I explained the provisional ballot and how it would not be counted he said "my write in vote is not going to count anyway." I showed him how to write in on an electronic machine. His vote was counted but he needs to be more specific. It did not matter.  . 

After one young man voted he said "That was easy, I thought you had to tell why you were voting for the person." I bet he has an interesting facebook news feed. 

Some people needed a good bit of assistance with electronic voting. It's pretty easy. I can only imagine how much assistance would be needed for paper ballots that used a real pencil. 

Because people needed assistance I often saw how they voted and made sure they got the results they wanted even if it meant starting over a few times. 

We had one of what's called a spoiled ballot. The person clicked on the wrong language and had to start over as a new ballot. 

When working the primary election there is a table for each party so it's easy to identify your handiest opponent. I have seen folks direct rude comments to the party they don't like. As there was only one table at a general election and you could not tell them apart, other than the one man previously mentioned all were polite. 

One man that required a good bit assistance with his ballot only voted for president and sheriff. 

Some people were not registered to vote. Seems that if you registered at the DPS office when getting a licence there was a delay in getting your name on the list and you could not be verified as an eligible voter. Texas also purges voter lists. Seems that if you did not vote for governor and then skipped the primaries you get dropped. The state does not know what happens to you. Moved, died, not interested all good reasons to not be an eligible voter. All these people other than the dead were registered on the spot by our clerks and will vote next time. 

Our polling place was a church hall set up like a 50s diner. At least two people asked if we were serving food. 

If you got an absentee or mail in ballot you need to turn it in unused if you are going to vote electronically. We know who you are so go back to the house and get it.    

There needed to be a vacuum cleaner in the polling place. Lots of muddy boots. 

402 voters in our location. The clerk thought that as many as 40% of the box early voted. Good to see so many participated. Hope they keep it up. 

While there had been a pretty brisk pace all day things slowed a good bit by 5pm and at about 5 minutes till 7, closing time, a young lady arrived with two documents that almost but just did not quite qualify her to vote. Her name was on the polling list and trying their best the clerks called the county office. The county office thought that the Texas Secretary of State office should be called. With phone calls across the state and with at least half a dozen people putting their heads together it took 20 minutes but was determined by the folks in Austin she could vote. I helped her do this and due to the amount of help required by me I did see how she voted. It was the simplest choice, a straight ticket. 

I locked the door at 7 as the young lady counted as being in line when the polls closed even though it was well after 7 when her vote was cast. One person was turned away by the locked door. 

So there, the day did not end like I wanted and the other guy gets a shot. I helped people and did not set anyone's car on fire. Maybe I got something started. 

 



 

     

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