If I need a cup of sugar, I just ask Marsha next door. She’ll even bring it into my kitchen if my hands are covered in flour. When we need an extra set of hands to move a heavy object, we know we can ask Joseph, who will help with a smile. If I need someone to listen, Janet lends me her ear.
What other relationship do my husband and I have with these and another 450 of my neighbors? I’m the election inspector at our polling place, and he is the judge of elections. Twice a year, five of your neighbors become public servants for the day.
… Poll workers serve for different reasons. Many, maybe the majority, are retired on limited incomes and want a little spending money. Some are students who want to earn a few extra dollars, but they also receive a valuable lesson in democracy. Others, like my husband and myself, don’t work for the money, but who couldn’t use a few more dollars these days? We want to serve the public and enjoy catching up with our neighbors and their families.
We also would like a little respect from Harrisburg. Under legislation which passed the state House, is pending in the Senate and is backed by the secretary of the commonwealth, we could be fined $300, jailed for one year or both if we allow someone to vote without a photo ID.
Many of our voters walk to the polling place on a fair weather day, including Marsha and her dog. No one I know takes her purse with her when walking the dog. But no ID, no vote.
Janet is not so young anymore, and mobility is somewhat of an issue. What if she arrives without her driver’s license? Why should I have to send her home to retrieve it? I’ve known her for 25 years, yet I can’t legally let her vote without seeing it.
Joseph is a young man who is not a regular voter and might not know that he needs his license to vote. If I send him home, he might not come back because of the negative reinforcement I’ve just given him. All these people live on my block, and I risk a fine and/or jail time if I self-identify them at the polls.
Another aspect of being a poll worker is that in each election I get to meet our new neighbors. Under current law we are required to examine ID for these people who are new to our precinct.
The Allegheny County Department of Elections does not have a long list of people hoping to get jobs as election officials. If we can be prosecuted for allowing people who are well-known to us to vote without identification, I bet that many of these positions will go unfilled. As an accountant I know all about checks and balances. Reducing the size of election boards opens up the system to internal fraud.
Where are all the cases of voter fraud that this legislation is supposed to ferret out anyhow? I’ve certainly never witnessed any such case.
I serve as an election official because for me this is a public duty. This law will discourage voters from engaging in their public duty to vote. It will inevitably intimidate voters — and election officials.
Full Article: I don’t want to card my neighbors.