Being married to a poll worker I'm a quasi "insider." I know, for instance, that all poll workers are required to attend a class prior to the day to hear about procedures, learn to operate the machines, and so on. There are a variety of roles for the workers, and the training is intended to prepare them for that as well.
So imagine my surprise when the time finally arrived and my first point of contact was being instructed on what she was to do. Find my name on the list, compare the information with my ID, verify everything, check it twice--where did her initials go? What was she supposed to write on my form?
That done, I proceeded to the machines, only to find that every single machine worker was gathered around one machine making sure that another voter felt confident about what she was doing to secure her vote. I stood there. Waiting. At last one of the workers caught on to the fact that I was there and beckoned me to her machine. She then tried to insert the "supervisor" gizmo to unlock the machine and couldn't figure out how to fit it into its proper slot. She turned it every way imagineable. Then tried all options again. "Allow me," I offered, and plugged it in. I confess to more than a twinge of impatience. She looked at some information on my voting slip and then compared it to what appeared on the screen. No match. She became flustered, and summoned another worker for help. "Don't you remember? They told us that the screen would look like this..."
I realize that I was among the first handful of voters and some of the workers were probably nervous and getting the kinks out. But seriously. I do this once a year (and three times this year between primaries, local and national elections) and I was better prepared. I imagine, however, that by now the place is probably humming like a well oiled and confident machine. And I have to say that those folks deserve more credit than I do. They will put in at least a 14-hour day today without relief, and depending on the length of the line when 7:00 PM arrives, they may be there quite a while. In fact, I may just bake them some cookies or something so they can refuel during the day with some sugar--and at least one voter's gesture of thanks for their service.
I head back in a couple of hours to take soup in for Ken's contribution to the poll-workers' pot-luck lunch, and will take my camera to document this day (not to mention the newly renovated kitchen at the church where the voting takes place--it looks fabulous!).
I and would dearly love to go to Starbuck's for a free cup of coffee, but by the time I drive to the nearest one 20 miles away, it will be far from free. Thanks anyway, Starbucks, for encouraging us all to vote.
And now, we wait.