Polls Not Posts

I had no time for a quick post or two yesterday morning, and the energy for only one last night. (Hence the switch for RS and GMD–as of today I’ll be posting on evangelization in the American morning, and dropping a liturgy post on you in the afternoon.) I spent the day as an election official, one of my favorite civic duties. Almost as high as voting itself.

My parents were regular voters. They didn’t talk about politics much, but they each took their election day duties very seriously. I remember going back to my elementary school to cast a ballot. Aside from the feeling of being a giant in the auditorium where I had P.E. as a single-digit-year-old, I relished the patriotic feeling of flipping levers as a citizen giant.

When I moved back to Iowa in 2008, I heard or read something about being an election official. After serving in November 2008, I was hooked.

Since then I’ve seen two county auditors work hard to promote citizen participation. My county experimented with seven neighborhood vote centers this year. The center to which I was assigned is near campus. We had a number of people who work in Campustown who came before, during, or after their working hours. But the ballot yesterday was largely a confirmation of three candidates being elected to three seats and two yes-no questions on continuing a levy to support the community college.

Our busiest time was when the senior citizens were bussed in from the care facility mid-afternoon and the ballot scanner was jammed.

As an official, I’ve seen the frustration when a person comes to vote in the “wrong” place. Re-districting found many people in the “wrong” location, some after decades of voting in the same building. I found the opportunity to set up voting centers in my city to be a good move. Out of 170 voters, maybe two scrambled in their purses to find proof of a change-of-address. But everybody who came (and who was of age) voted.

If there were a way to print ballots attuned to each individual’s actual address–and it seems technologically possible–that might be a boon to voting. But that is likely far in the future. People get skittish about election fraud. Working from the other side of the table, I don’t see many opportunities for that, even with same-day registration. We are trained to be thorough. There were nine others on my site team, and whenever a question came up, a few heads were put together to find a solution.

November will be a bit busier. I hope I get the call for that day.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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