What a dumpster fire 2020 has been, and everyone knew the election was going to be no different. Between covid, and racism, and misinformation etc…it was a foregone conclusion. It was not possible to go well. Despite my best efforts to remain a pessimist, and my predictions that Trump would win again, a spark of hope did still remain deep down inside. I said when Trump won this time, I wouldn’t be crying like 2016, I’d just be furious, but I ended my long, very long day in tears again, hyperventilating and punching my car radio when Trump’s 2 am speech began. I went to bed in a combination of despair and anger, and woke up to…news that was not as bad as expected. Logically I knew it wasn’t over, due to all the mail in ballots that I know need to be counted, but it truly felt over and the morning news that it wasn’t was nice to see. So…it’s still not over, it’s still leaning slightly Biden, but no matter the results, it’s still going to be a shit show dumpster fire.
So…besides that. I decided in late summer to volunteer to be a poll worker. The Daily Show was talking about a shortage of poll workers, because retirees that usually work elections did not want to be exposed to covid, so I stepped up. I had to be at my location at 5am, and had to stay until everything was closed and taken care of, which ended up being nearly 10pm….that’s 17 hours. And while you get paid, and that pay is more than a day at work, my normal day at work is 8 hours, so it’s really not enough money.
You have to do a training class (yearly, if you remain on the list to work elections) but you are presented a lot of information very quickly, so in the end it wasn’t super helpful for the day of. They provide a ton of instructions in books that is supposed to step by step walk you through everything you have to do, but still…it’s so much. There were 8 of us and one is supposed to be the chairman, but we all arrive and no one seems to know who the chairman is. Including the woman who turns out, was the chairman. Now she has worked every election I’ve voted in since buying my house. That’s at least 12 years. You would think she would know what needs to be done, and you’d be wrong. So immediately setting up seemed like a shit show, not taking charge, not assigning jobs, not seeming to know what needed to be done. Luckily there was another experienced woman there who took a bit of control, and we got everything ready, but it was just shocking to me that something as important as elections are left to novices who really don’t know what to do.
I was the first person to vote, since it was my polling place, and we had a line from 6am to about 7:30. After that, it was just small groups and singles fairly steadily, but no real line. We expected a lunch and dinner rush that never materialized, but in the end our numbers were larger than they usually are according to the experienced workers.
I guess I was influenced by the fear mongering a bit, because I had expected issues…for example, you can’t Electioneer…which means you can’t advertise for a candidate on the ballot by wearing a shirt or hat etc, so I expected the MAGA hat crowd to be out all dressed up, and then cause problems when asked to remove the items. It didn’t happen. Yes there were 2 people I saw that had Trump gear on, that we had to ask them to remove, but they did without complaint. I thought there might be some intimidation, although I am in a republican area, and there wasn’t. I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on nationwide, but even today I have not heard anything about intimidation issues in other areas, so that’s good. Everything went smoothly between set up and close.
Because once again, closing was a shit show. The woman who knew more of what to do had to be the first to leave, as she had to deliver the memory cards from the machine to City Hall right away. The rest of us had to stay to shut down the machines, and do the rest of the stuff and leave all together. I had the extra job of taking ballots and other gear to City Hall (which I had some media-fear anxiety about, with fantasy situations in my head of being accosted by Trump crazies and shit, that obviously didn’t happen). But again, with no real leadership, while the chairman did do the things she knew had to be done, the rest of us was left to figure it out on our own. And there was so much she didn’t know, things that weren’t new for this year, that she just SHOULD HAVE. It was mind boggling.
In the end, everything was fine. The day actually went way faster than expected, at least until dinner time, where those final 3 hours felt as long as the previous 12. But it was a long, long day, and given my real job schedule, I was very tired. I had to take the day off, obviously, but I also had to take Monday off so I could try to sleep, and because I wouldn’t be able to work til 3 am at the casino, then work 17 hours for the election. I went to bed around 9 on Monday, up at 4, but it was terrible sleep. Once I was finished I went to Founding Fathers as has become tradition. Home around 2:30, made for 23 hours of being awake. Yikes.
Would I do it again? I’m not sure. If my current job situation remains, probably not. My hours make it really hard. If my search for a new job ends up being fruitful (not looking good, as I didn’t even get an interview for a fucking customer service phone job), and I find a job with normal hours, then maybe. Taking 2 days off, and figuring out the sleep thing is just not practical. But with a day job, that would only need 1 day off, I’d be willing. We shall see.