No Snooze Button Needed

My alarm clock is a good little friend. It’s patient, enduring and doesn’t give up on me – even when I get upset and threaten to throw it against a wall.

My little clock’s dreams for me finally came to fruition when I woke up right at 5 a.m. But truth be told, I didn’t really wake up for my clock’s sake. The fact that today is Election Day and I had to get to the polls to help set up was definitely an influential factor.

Posting the FlagAs a voter, I’ve often taken for granted the work that goes into putting together an election. I usually just show up at the polls, vote my ballot, and go on my merry way. Being on the other side has definitely put things into perspective. If you’ve read our earlier posts, you know that we started working on today’s election back in February.

Sample ballots have to be designed and written, poll workers have to be trained, equipment has to be tested…and it all culminates into one big final exam at the end of the preparation period where all the weeks of work are tested by poll workers’ ability to get the polling places up and running by 7 a.m. To get the polls running, a slew of task items have to be checked off, like:

  • Posting the Flag
  • Assembling the eSlates and other electronic voting equipment
  • Putting together regular voting booths
  • Unpacking the supply case
  • Confirming the correct supplies were delivered
  • Setting up the voter rosters
  • Reviewing and signing of seals, locks and logs
  • Administering the “Oath of Election Officers”

Setting Up the eSlatesWith only an hour to prepare for 13 hours of polling place voting, the set up period can be more than a little hectic. Combine that with the fact that this all began 44 minutes before sunrise today didn’t make it that much easier to digest. But even as a self-described night person who doesn’t believe in getting up before the sun, there’s something immensely satisfying about being a part of the whole election process. For three elections in a row, I’ve shown up to my assigned polling place with a foggy mind and eyes crusted from sleep only to be energized when I see the American flag posted at the entryway.

I know I’m not the only person who gets excited about being a part of an election. San Mateo County has more than 1,000 poll workers for this election dedicated to actively preserving the democracy of our community. Some of them have been around for years; Evelyn Kaplan, an Inspector at Highlands Elementary School in San Mateo, has been a poll worker since 1964.

Sure, the hours are daunting and the work is challenging, but the swelling pride in my chest from The Polling Placebeing able to say that I took part in a process so crucial to our society – that’s the true reward.

So to all the poll workers out there today, I salute you for your efforts and thank you for helping preserve one of the most important rituals of our society.

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