Last Tuesday I spent 13 1/2 hours in a Lutheran church fellowship hall trying to be as non-political and helpful as I could. Even when somebody was upset about an “offensive” sign in a yard down the street (which was outside the 250 foot ‘no campaigning zone’ and most likely just a very liberal sign – I know the owner of the property). Even when some guy was spouting off about lawyers just trying to make life more difficult for everyone through state constitution amendments , while he was voting. Even when we finished our pledge as election workers with “so help me God” and one of my fellow workers commented that the end was the most important part. I kept my mouth shut and just tried to keep my opinions to myself. (If you know me, that’s just about the antithesis of my natural character. I don’t understand how people can NOT have an opinion about something!)
The day was very long, but very satisfying. I really enjoy doing community service type stuff. Maybe because I was a Girl Scout for 12 years. It was exciting to be a part of the democratic process, ensuring that all eligible citizens had equal access to voting (again, I think the Girl Scout in me was coming out). I love systems, having a well thought out process for how something is supposed to be done, and voting in Johnson County is very much that kind of process, to all our benefit.
It was interesting spending an entire day with 5 senior citizen women and a high school student (students over 16 can work at the polls for class credit). It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a situation where I most related to a high school student. It also highlighted why there is such an exhaustive set of processes for election workers. Some of these ladies would not have known what to do, and/or were a little bit too laid back for my taste. But the process kept them in line.
It was also a bit of a trip down memory lane, as the precincts we covered are near my house and in my elementary school’s district. I saw my old babysitter, the mother of one of my classmates, a mother who was very involved in my school, a Girl Scout leader, an old neighbour, and my aunt! It was fun to see a bunch of people that I haven’t seen in at least 10 years (except my aunt. It was fun to see her too, but I had seen her a couple of days ago). What was weird was that all of the women who were working with me were longtime residents of the same area, but most of them didn’t see anyone they knew.
Oh, and not a single person I voted for won in the two precincts that our polling station covered.