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Reply #5: There are no second shifts for poll workers. [View All]

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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. There are no second shifts for poll workers.
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 10:20 AM by yellerpup
When you sign on as an elections inspector, you accept the fact in writing that your day will be at least 16 hours long (with a half-hour lunch and two 10 minute breaks) and you agree to stay until the last vote in your precinct is counted (and reconciled). For every Democratic elections inspector in each precinct, there is a Republican elections inspector and we work side-by-side. Individual workers are held responsible and liable for prosecution if it is discovered that the votes have been tampered with. Everyone takes great care to insure correctness. Voters are checked in, address and party affiliation verified in the book and initialed by an elections inspector. A second list is kept that must agree with the sign-in book. The book and the list are then checked against the vote tally from each machine and if there is any discrepancy everyone stays until the error is found. At the end of 16+ hours, believe me, nobody wants that...

All that being said, the system is not foolproof. The voting machines in my county scan paper ballots filled out by the voter and the ballots are then dropped into the locked machine that cannot be reopened without breaking a seal (which is not allowed--police would be called at that point). The ballots are counted electronically as each vote is cast. If a recount is ordered, the machine is opened up at the Board of Elections and the actual paper ballots that were filled out by each individual voter are then recounted (again with an equal amount of Dems to Repugs). Even with the lever machines, we have had to search for a 2 vote error, so no system is perfect. I'm not defending the new machines at all. I don't like them because they are too sensitive to jostling or paper jams. We have to know how to break them down and set them up, but if say, a paper jam does happen, someone from the elections board will have to come to the precinct with a special key to open the machine and fix it. Everyone involved has to witness the repair and initial every step of the process, so if someone is cheating/cheated, they will know who to blame. It's not perfect to be sure. Fraud can happen no matter what type of machine or even when paper ballot is used, but it would take a conspiracy of huge proportions. (See Florida, 2002 and Ohio, 2004 specifically) I know election fraud has happened before in many places all over the USA, which was the reason I decided to get personally involved. I wanted to make sure the vote was counted properly. Once I met my co-workers on election day I knew we were all there to support the same goal and I've had more confidence in the system since that time.

In the 2008 presidential election we had over 80% turnout in our precinct, and almost 80% of those voters went for Obama. It was very exciting to see such a huge victory unfold. If our precinct suddenly started to go Republican without a huge change in demographics we at the polls would know the machines were counting things wrong and demand a hand recount. If the new voting machines were not supported by paper ballots, I'd be more skeptical. You are not wrong to mistrust computerized voting but rest assured that your neighbors who work at the polls are absolutely willing and able to count and recount the vote until it truly reflects the actual results. Stay sharp, Bill Bored, and keep asking questions and demanding fairness. Nice to meet you.

Edited for one more little clarification. I'll shut up now.
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