Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
Wed May 3, 2017, 01:25 PM May 2017

Need advice on working election polls

Hello DU'ers,
Municipal elections (county commissioners, school board and city council positions) are going on at our locality this weekend. The county elections polling workers coordinator knew i'm bilingual so she called me to ask if i'd be willing to be on call for emergency work in the case one of their assigned workers drop out. Given i feel a bit guilty about turning her down the last time she called several months ago and the fact i don't really have anything pressing this Saturday i said yes (so my conscience will stop bothering me). That and the fact I am also very curious as to how workers can "cheat", and if there are any gaps in the system/process i can identify.

Anyhoo, need advice on what to watch out for, when best to take a break, etc. as she's told me the hours will be long - 6am to 6pm, possibly extending to 8pm depending on turnout.

Thank you and hoping our local Democratic candidates will kick butt!!
One Texan

32 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Need advice on working election polls (Original Post) onetexan May 2017 OP
Wish I could help, elleng May 2017 #1
Review the process used to move voters along. Blue_true May 2017 #2
"Know who the republican poll watchers are" - how can i know this info discreetly onetexan May 2017 #6
Been doing it for years, but in suburban NY... TreasonousBastard May 2017 #3
"structural problems, like any difference in treatment of women or minorities" - GREAT ADVICE onetexan May 2017 #7
I'm a Precinct Chair in Tarrant County since 2008 MagickMuffin May 2017 #4
"experience the underbelly of the voters in our communities" - exactly why i'm doing this onetexan May 2017 #5
Do you ever participate in any of the TCDP events? MagickMuffin May 2017 #8
YES! Went to Beto's meet&greet, onetexan May 2017 #9
I was also at the Come Together Fight Back rally MagickMuffin May 2017 #14
i hear ya, neither do i have the time onetexan May 2017 #17
My youngest daughter is working this weekend as the head election judge Gothmog May 2017 #10
thank you Gothmog onetexan May 2017 #13
The most common trick I saw was poll workers "not finding"registrations for younger voters.... bettyellen May 2017 #11
Thank you Bettyellen - wow - onetexan May 2017 #12
My town is in law school textbooks for voter fraud- when people died they added them bettyellen May 2017 #15
OMG that's insane!! onetexan May 2017 #18
Check your PMs. bettyellen May 2017 #20
In Tarrant County the poll books are listed alphbetically MagickMuffin May 2017 #16
I know that they used to give the books out the day before the election - and the poll workers bettyellen May 2017 #19
WOW, talk about corruption MagickMuffin May 2017 #21
There was a huge amount of mob influence wanting development projects pushed bettyellen May 2017 #22
My county has online look up of registrations Gothmog May 2017 #23
We still have the old guard running that shit for the most part. bettyellen May 2017 #25
I am on good terms with my county's election law administrator Gothmog May 2017 #29
It's tricky shit here, the powers that be really do scare a lot of locals... bettyellen May 2017 #30
Two things to watch out for Gothmog May 2017 #24
Thanks Gothmog, good to know there is a voting machine specifically for disabled people onetexan May 2017 #26
Thanks for the heads up about finalizeing ballots. Ours are optical scanners and do not require that Jim Beard May 2017 #28
I wish my county had your problems. We do not have county chairs in 27 Counties Jim Beard May 2017 #27
Thank you for the link, this is very useful onetexan May 2017 #31
For grins, I sat in the election judge training that my daughter had to attend Gothmog May 2017 #32

elleng

(133,374 posts)
1. Wish I could help,
Wed May 3, 2017, 01:31 PM
May 2017

but I 'only' worked a Presidential election, and received lots of information about what to do etc.

Post your question in the relevant State forum, maybe.

Blue_true

(31,261 posts)
2. Review the process used to move voters along.
Wed May 3, 2017, 01:36 PM
May 2017

A voter should be checked off as eligible once given a ballot, some places require photo ID and use computers, some places require addresses and use voter roll books. Know who the republican poll watchers are, converse with them before voting starts to get a sense of what type of people they are, but still pay attention to what they do as voters come through. Each voter should get only one ballot and there should be a verification process if a voter asks for a second ballot because of a mistake. After a voter has voted, he or she should be checked off on the post vote roll book before being allowed to put the ballot into the counting process. Most states and districts use optical scanners know instead of the punch pad ballots, that makes cheating very difficult if the right ballot control procedures are used.

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
6. "Know who the republican poll watchers are" - how can i know this info discreetly
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:07 PM
May 2017

i wouldn't want to identify myself as a Democrat as i'd probably get a visceral reaction LOL.
Many thanks True Blue .

TreasonousBastard

(43,049 posts)
3. Been doing it for years, but in suburban NY...
Wed May 3, 2017, 01:52 PM
May 2017

And I don't know what how it works in Texas. But a lot of it would be similar.

Here, the county runs major elections, does the hiring and paying, buys and maintains the machines, etc. etc. Smaller elections, like local school boards, are run by the localities, since the county would charge them.

The days are long-- polls open at six AM and close at 9PM, and figure an hour and a half on top of that to open and close. Every time I do it, everyone says never again, but then the same faces show up next time.

I've worked at least half a dozen different polling places in the county, and never seen actual cheating or corruption. The system works hard to make it difficult, and most people who do this seem basically honest anyway. I would not be surprised if that's the same down there. Besides any obvious and illegal stuff, like ballot manipulation, you might want to think about structural problems, like any difference in treatment of women or minorities. Here, we tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and if they are not in the roll book for some reason we give them affidavit or other special ballots and have judges standing by for special cases.

Just don't go in assuming the worst because of all the internet hysteria. There are still problems, but i doubt it's as bad as some would have you believe.

Being a local election, turnout probably won't be that high so you can wander off for a break pretty much any time the place is pretty empty. Local rules apply, though, as do whoever is running the show.

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
7. "structural problems, like any difference in treatment of women or minorities" - GREAT ADVICE
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:10 PM
May 2017

thank you TB, much appreciated. I would not have thought to watch out for this.

MagickMuffin

(16,335 posts)
4. I'm a Precinct Chair in Tarrant County since 2008
Wed May 3, 2017, 01:53 PM
May 2017

I have worked every aspect of varying elections. We are always provided training by the Elections Office. They also have printed copies of the powerpoint presentation.

I would watch for making sure voters aren't turned away. In my county there will only be one polling location so there shouldn't be any reason of turning voters away.

There was changes to the voter id law, so you should be aware of those. One no longer has to show a photo id, however, they must have a "good" reason why they aren't able to provide a photo id.

In my precinct the Presiding Judge is a republican, but he believes in the voting system, so I haven't ever had a real problem with him. I serve as the Alternate Judge.

I would contact the county elections office and ask if they have any printed material that you could have to ensure you know what your duties are as a clerk.

I had to help voters in November (who were older than me, who bragged this was their first time voting) vote for trump'd. It was difficult but it is my duty to help voters cast their ballots if they need it.

Serving as an election clerk can be very rewarding. You definitely get to experience the underbelly of the voters in our communities.

Good LUCK and Thank You For Serving!!!






onetexan

(13,202 posts)
5. "experience the underbelly of the voters in our communities" - exactly why i'm doing this
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:05 PM
May 2017

Thanks so much for the tips Magic Muffin. Funny Tarrant County is mine too so we may run into each other .

MagickMuffin

(16,335 posts)
8. Do you ever participate in any of the TCDP events?
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:13 PM
May 2017

At out last CEC meeting in March we elected 56 Precinct Chairs. I was very amazed of the Democrats taking on the responsibility of serving our county in the Democratic process.

I have a training manual if you need one, however, as I mentioned if you call they will be more than accommodating in getting you set up to work an election!





onetexan

(13,202 posts)
9. YES! Went to Beto's meet&greet,
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:18 PM
May 2017

"come together/fight back" @Verizon theater, & recently joined several Dems clubs nearby. We had 2 local candidates running against lyin' Ted Cruz in '18 come to one of the clubs' monthly meetings for meet&greet, & a very smart young lady running for Tx senate. All of them are first timers running for elected office. I'm proud more Dems as a whole are stepping up - that is the silver lining of this trump age.
BTW yes i've asked for the training material - there's an online link and the coordinator will be sending doco as well so hopefully the material will be helpful.

MagickMuffin

(16,335 posts)
14. I was also at the Come Together Fight Back rally
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:40 PM
May 2017

I loved our County Chair Deborah People's fighting gloves routine. She is a very funny lady.

I wasn't able to attend the Beto's event, hopefully he will be back.

I don't have a lot of funds to attend these events. But I do what I can!

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
17. i hear ya, neither do i have the time
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:00 PM
May 2017

but getting involved was the best therapy for me. I got to the point where i was cussing at the tv whenever the Orange Idiot came on the news LOL. Now i'm much calmer and feel my involvement helps me channel my frustrations into constructive action.
Me 2 - the CTFB event was first time i'd seen Ms. Peoples speak, & she really impressed me. I liked her speech better than Bernie's actually. She was at the Beto event as well firing up everyone with her contagious energy. Both times amidst the chaos i didn't get to meet her but i'm sure i will one of these days.

Gothmog

(149,348 posts)
10. My youngest daughter is working this weekend as the head election judge
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:22 PM
May 2017

I have been an election judge a number of times. It is rewarding and not too hard. There will be low turnout out and so bring a book to read. There will likely be lulls between voters. My daughter is good at setting up the machines but if you are the designated translator, then you should not have too much trouble.

I strongly encourage good democrats to work the polls. If I have a choice, I want a good democrat to be a poll worker instead of a poll watcher. As a poll worker, you can talk to voters and help voters use the machinery.

The voter id issues are interesting but the head election judge should be in charge of these issues. Basically if a person does not have one of the 7 approved ids, then you have to offer them the opportunity to vote by signing a Reasonable Impediment Declaration and have them provide one of a number of alternative forms of IDs. The only real issue is if the voter has one of the 7 required ids but does not have it with them. If the id is lost then they get to vote using the RID but if the id is not lost, they have to go get it.

 

bettyellen

(47,209 posts)
11. The most common trick I saw was poll workers "not finding"registrations for younger voters....
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:26 PM
May 2017

The books were arranged by odd and even addresses- mine was odd- and they'd go for the even numbered books and play stupid. Every time they did this, I would loudly explain their goof so the people behind me would know the trick. They disliked "new comers" voting. They also had lots of phony voters on the rolls (literally allowed to read their name off a piece of paper with four other names on it) but we are a rarity in that regard, so I won't go into it.
So get to know the books and the voter ID rules. If people are being denied be ready to point them towards a resolution (sometimes a court order,sometimes a provisional ballot).

I hope you enjoy the experience and make it a regular thing! Thanks for doing it!

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
12. Thank you Bettyellen - wow -
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:33 PM
May 2017

as the English would say, "dodgy business". I will definitely watch out for any signs of registration hanky panky and speak loud enough as you have to be within earshot of the voters, though i'm hoping i won't run into any such questionable characters .

 

bettyellen

(47,209 posts)
15. My town is in law school textbooks for voter fraud- when people died they added them
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:41 PM
May 2017

To the phony voter list. When entire buildings were renovated they'd make sure all the old occupants stayed on the rolls. A certain member of the city councils cabal had the power of thousands of phony votes. For local elections it was enough to swing it. The FBI filmed groups of "paid campaign workers" going into 4-5 polling places one after the other. I believe that since they could not film inside they were never able to do anything about it.
The local poll workers (mostly older women) were part of the scam and would shout down any challenges. Teachers and policemen were pressured into making campaign calls from and during their work hours. Mailmen or building managers would throw mass mailings into the garbage. People believed that the powers that be would know how hey voted and kick them out of subsidized housing. Campaign workers would knock on their doors and only inform them who they were voting for the morning of. And they were afraid not to be seen running to the polls and voting as told.


Two of our mayors went to jail for corruption. They are slowly losing power. But yeah- it was ugly. Tampered machines, emergency closing of polling places, threats of arson toward campaign workers (me). And yet, I love it here. And have managed to make some great impacts on the community despite them.

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
18. OMG that's insane!!
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:05 PM
May 2017

where was this? i need to look it up and read about it. Don't mean to be laughing but truth is stranger than fiction...you can't make this stuff up!

MagickMuffin

(16,335 posts)
16. In Tarrant County the poll books are listed alphbetically
Wed May 3, 2017, 02:45 PM
May 2017

Having the poll books listed by odd and even addresses just sounds very strange to me. Thankfully we don't have to deal with that issue.

 

bettyellen

(47,209 posts)
19. I know that they used to give the books out the day before the election - and the poll workers
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:11 PM
May 2017

Would rip out pages of new registrations. We had to run a shuttle service to the court in the next town where they had duplicates of the registrations to get people court orders to vote. It appeared that dozens of registrations handled by me and other young liberals were deliberately destroyed. A friend of mine actually saw the huge paper bag of voters names being handed over.

MagickMuffin

(16,335 posts)
21. WOW, talk about corruption
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:17 PM
May 2017

It really is hard to believe isn't it. That's the main reason I became a Precinct Chair and since there wasn't one I kinda got ushered in. However, candidate Barack Obama in 2007 got me "Fired Up and Ready to GO!!!

THANKS OBAMA!!!



 

bettyellen

(47,209 posts)
22. There was a huge amount of mob influence wanting development projects pushed
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:26 PM
May 2017

Through. I saw quite a few "young reformers" give up and become part of the problem. Thank god that last asshole went to jail. Our new mayor is taking a lot of grief for it- but we're increasing parks and open spaces again for the first time in many years.

Gothmog

(149,348 posts)
23. My county has online look up of registrations
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:35 PM
May 2017

Depending on the county, you may have access to a laptop to check voters in. Most drivers licenses can be scanned or run though bar code reader which really speeds up the process. There are counties with poll books like Harris County for election day. I hate the election supervisor for Harris County and we have a great lady running to replace him in 2018.

 

bettyellen

(47,209 posts)
25. We still have the old guard running that shit for the most part.
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:52 PM
May 2017

You can't get in as a poll worker unless you register as GOP- because they protect each other. They've been at this shit for a good hundred years, but their power is slowly eroding. Part of it is we're running out of space to develop. But the tax monies will still keep the mobsters around in some form or another.

Gothmog

(149,348 posts)
29. I am on good terms with my county's election law administrator
Wed May 3, 2017, 05:38 PM
May 2017

To be a good sport, I have twice been the election judge for GOP primary and for the run off. That was no fun. GOP voters can be real assholes.

 

bettyellen

(47,209 posts)
30. It's tricky shit here, the powers that be really do scare a lot of locals...
Wed May 3, 2017, 06:41 PM
May 2017

Yet there are thousands of new comers in the last thirty years who haven't the slightest clue or interest. What was horrible is that I registered hundreds of people way back- and these fuckers destroyed the local copies. Not just the ones I witnessed, but loads of other volunteers too. We still won the more important elections, but the PTB has gotten their choice for mayor in every single time for the last 30 years. If our mayor gets reelected it will break that streak. She was promoted from head of city council after they carted another mayors ass off to jail.

Gothmog

(149,348 posts)
24. Two things to watch out for
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:40 PM
May 2017

These are my personal pet peeves or things to watch out for.

While you cannot watch a voter vote, you can make sure that they finalize the ballot. If you are at the Judge Booth Controller (JBC), you can tell if a voter has finalize and cast ballot. There are voters who think that they voted but did not hit the final caste ballot button. You need to keep an eye out for this.

Second, keep an eye out for people with disabilities. Every poling place has a voting machine that can be taken out to a voter who needs to vote from their car. We do a lousy job of training poll watchers to keep an eye out for people who need to vote in their cars. It is a requirement of federal law that a county has to offer the ability to vote without coming into the polling place if they are disabled.

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
26. Thanks Gothmog, good to know there is a voting machine specifically for disabled people
Wed May 3, 2017, 03:59 PM
May 2017

The cast ballot is of utmost importance as well. From past experience voting there are signs up informing people how to use the machines but for someone whose computer challenged it may be intimidating. I'm assuming a poll worker can inform people in line to call a poll worker if they need help selecting their choices or following the user interface. My background is in software engineering and yet i myself had a little bit of hard time figuring out the dials the first time i voted with the electronic ballot machines used here. I'm assuming the archaic technology needs a refresh. Touch screen would be much better.

 

Jim Beard

(2,535 posts)
28. Thanks for the heads up about finalizeing ballots. Ours are optical scanners and do not require that
Wed May 3, 2017, 04:41 PM
May 2017

Counties buy their own machines and they are varied. My small county uses a large firm in Illnois to program our machine. I know several other counties that use them but I don't if all are.

Back to your main question about being an observer, without reading the rules, my memory recalls once you start observing, you must stay or once you leave, you can not return. Check with your states SOS.

 

Jim Beard

(2,535 posts)
27. I wish my county had your problems. We do not have county chairs in 27 Counties
Wed May 3, 2017, 04:31 PM
May 2017

of the Texas Panhandle and South Plains. I was one for a while and could not get any support. We tried for a while heaving Precinct conventions but we have been on a down hill slide since. I was the only one left that would do anything and it just became too much for me, especially with retiring office holders.

Try your states Secretary of states office, they should have all the guidelines to go by. I had to do some but most were done by the local County Clerk.

Try this and the Texans can also benefit......

https://www.sos.state.tx.us/Elections/conducting/index.shtml

onetexan

(13,202 posts)
31. Thank you for the link, this is very useful
Wed May 3, 2017, 08:44 PM
May 2017

and so sorry to hear about the county chair problems Jim. It's maddening to hear this day & age we have that many counties without county chairs.

Gothmog

(149,348 posts)
32. For grins, I sat in the election judge training that my daughter had to attend
Fri May 5, 2017, 08:57 PM
May 2017

I disagreed with some of the "bad" reasons for requesting a reasonable impediment ballot and forwarded the power point to the attorneys in this case. Hopefully they can use this in the next hearing on the Texas voter id law

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Need advice on working el...