Super Tuesday and today I want to honor the unsung heroes and heroines of every election day: the folks who work the polls. I’ve been voting since I was 21 (see how old I am - no 18 year old votes back then) and so of course I have been aware of poll workers. In Virginia one of our good friends was always there, walking around, willing to help, being called on for various reasons. There have always been the folks behind the desk, finding our names in the huge alphabetical lists they had before them. But truthfully, I never gave them much thought. Until today.
Today daughter Meredith and son-in-law David are working a polling place in Massachusetts. Here are some things I have learned about poll workers as Meredith and David have prepared to do this job. The titles are Massachusetts’ titles. They may be different in your state.
The team consists of a Warden, the one in charge, who answers questions, deals with issues that may arise and finally stays at the delivery site until the precinct’s ballads have been counted. Meredith has this job.
David is an Inspector, one of four who find your name on the registrations lists, check you off and send you to the person handing you your ballot (or to the voting machine). Unless of course there is something odd or wrong about the registration list. Then the Inspector sends you to the Warden to work out whatever the issue.
The final member of the team is a Policeman who, although there to keep the peace and bring the force of law to the process, has the main task of delivering the ballots to the counting place. Except for those that might have had an issue. The Warden delivers those.
This team arrives at the polling place two hours before the polls open. This may not be official policy and this morning at least one polling team in Massachusetts were gifted with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donuts by the Warden and one of their Inspectors. The Warden stays with the ballots until they have been counted. If it is a light turnout, the process will probably be over by midnight. That makes a long day for these folks who care enough about our open, free election process that they are willing to put aside their own political convictions for the day and make sure that everyone gets their Constitutional right to vote. I’m so proud of Meredith and David for doing this. And to all of you who I passed by so quickly over the years, Thank You! You are true Patriots in the best sense of that word.