Officer of Election

Posted by Sherry Morris | 3:35 PM | 3 comments »

I've always wanted to work at the polls on election day. My dream finally came true yesterday, when my state held dual presidential primaries. I was to report before 5 a.m. So of course, at 8:30 p.m. the night before, my daughter vomited. I was up all night, holding back hair and scrubbing carpet, hoping beyond anything that I wouldn't soon join her.

I arrived on time at my precinct and after wandering around outside in the spooky darkness, loaded down with muffins, fruit salad, paper goods, a cooler and purse, I found the unlocked door.

We had been warned that changes in the election laws would equal angry voters. Only one woman was upset about showing I.D. The big problem was holding two primaries on the same day, and only allowing the voters to vote in one. This meant we had to ask and they had to state which primary they wished to vote in, Republican or Democratic.

It seemed to vehemently anger men who carried guns in the course of their employment. One refused and left. Those women who were bothered by this took it very emotionally, with tears welling up. They complied like it was just one more humiliation.

We gave the option of voting electronically by touch screen or by paper ballot. Men generally chose the gadget and women generally chose paper. Paper was quicker, by the way.

We election officials cheered for every first time voter. They took it well, without embarrassment and seemed to be proud.

I noticed a very odd phenomenon. My eyes started to burn and water, then get better. At one point, when crowds were heaviest, I had to run from my post and wipe my eyes, I felt nearly blinded. When I returned, and new people were in line, I was fine. There were a variety of strong aromas coming from the public. Smoke, cologne and who knows. I realized I must have had an allergic reaction to some of the scents.

The polls closed, we were able to agree on the results and pack up by 9:00 p.m. To slide out in an ice storm and thaw our cars.

At our precinct, Obama won the democratic votes, but Huckabee won the republican, even though he didn't win our state.


  1. Sandra Cox // February 13, 2008 at 8:27 PM  

    Glad Obama won:)

  2. Nightingale // February 13, 2008 at 11:30 PM  

    I am so non-political--well except that I don't like---anyway. I enjoyed this post. I have been in the lines, have voted. Thanks, Sherry for taking us behind the scenes as it were.

    I think I'll move to Canada.

  3. Mary Marvella // February 17, 2008 at 12:05 AM  

    The one time I did that job, I also found perfumes built up in the air. I also found the politics within the group of workers interesting.

    After the person who persuaded me to do this patriotic job,one that paid, wasn't asked to return, I decided once was enough. I could have worked with that group again, but the politics made me uncomfortable.

    The person with the most influence came late and left early but had an air of "self-importance" about her.