Working The Poll

Last Update: Jun 3, 2022

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Not that kind of poll! The electoral poll of course.

This past week I was hired as a poll worker for yesterday's election. There was training, picking up materials, setup, election day and dropping off back at HQ.

My job description was as a Supervisory Deputy Returning Officer Tech.

My son was also hired for the same position at another poll. It was great to have a family member in the same boat learning all of these new processes and sharing this experience.

After reading Edwin's recent hiring as a poll worker for his upcoming election, I was inspired to try it out as well in my area. Thank you, Edwin!

It was quite exciting to be a part of the electoral process and see what really goes on behind the scenes in an election, although my portion was only a small part of the bigger picture.

Typically, when one goes to vote, they take their voter card to the poll, choose a candidate, cast their ballot and walk away never considering what's involved to complete the election.

This year, new technology was in place with multiple computers and electronic tabulation machines.

In theory, the process would be more streamlined, efficient and user-friendly. However, you know that technology never works that way in reality.

Wednesday night's setup was a strong indication of the issues I would soon be facing as I spent hours on a tech support line only to have the election office's tech support put me in touch with THEIR tech support!

Thursday morning, we started getting "online" at 8am and when the doors opened at 9, we were still not working properly but had to "open with issues." The contingency plan kicked in.


Ultimately, after 2.5 hours of logging in, logging off and rebooting everyone's poll book, I finally got it all running.

The issues had been resolved. I later learned with relief that there had been system problems all over.

That computerized efficiency change was welcomed by most voters.

However, it caused some disruption with a few people when they realized they could not physically put a folded, paper ballot into the box themselves.

Systems change and we must learn to adapt.

Wednesday evening had been spent setting up all equipment, tables, voter screens, PPE, signage and other materials with my crew.

But yesterday was a full day over 16 hours long working and putting out fires. I'm happy to say that the job was well done by everyone and I learned a lot. Overall, it was a great experience that I am glad to have participated in.

Our hard work paid off. Plus there were a few surprises.

Voting is an important part of any democracy. It is a civic responsibiltiy not be taken lightly or for granted. We are lucky to have this right considering some parts of the world don't.

Appreciating those civic rights ought to inspire us to participate in the process.

Best wishes to you all!

Susan

Recent Comments

28

Ho Susan,

Thankfully our voting systems were all working today. I was voter #1 today and did the whole process myself. It felt strange being on both sides of the bench so to speak.

I got three more days of this. The 7th will be the longest day from 6 am to 9 pm. And I am sure that will be the busiest day too.

I enjoyed reading your account.

Cheers.

Edwin

You were lucky to have all your technology working, Edwin! Thankfully, I got us all up and running electronically 2.5 hours into the vote when the system was functioning again. It is fascinating to be on both sides as you say.

Good luck to you during all this & wear your comfy shoes for that LONG day. It's tough. I worked election day from 7:30am - 12:30am and am still recovering lol.

Cheers,
Susan

Thanks for this fascinating glimpse behind the scenes, Susan. You are so right about the privilege of voting in a free democracy. We have compulsory voting in Australia, which eliminates the apathetic "can't be bothered to vote" attitude but encourages what we call the donkey vote. Our recent Federal election resulted in a change of government. In a triumph for diversity, our new Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, was born in Malaysia and is a lesbian with a long-term partner who has had two daughters by IVF. She is a practicing Christian in a family of Buddhists. And as an indication of our fast-paced world, she and our new Prime Minister attended the Quad summit (the leaders of the US, Japan, India and Australia) in Japan the day after being elected and sworn in!

I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, Phil. It was quite eye-opening for me and there was so much more involved than I could have imagined. Great experience, though. Interesting that you have compulsory voting. I guess that could go either way. Hard to inspire those who are apathetic though and we have many in Canada...your new FM is certainly diverse from the sounds of it. Thanks for filling me in, as we don't hear too much about Australia.

You must be proud, Susan. :)

Sounds like you did learn something as you were there.

Myra

Hi Myra...thanks so much for commenting. It turned out to be quite a learning experience. Overall, it was a great day!

A nice opportunity meet a lot of people,

It certainly was. Running a team of 14 was great experience. Thanks for commenting.

That's a wonderful way to experience our voting system.

Yes, it was fascinating to learn the system from the inside perspective. Thanks for dropping by!

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