I’m tapped out on many fronts over here: all three girls went to in-person school (pre-K through 9th grade- what a spread! Am I conflicted about it? Yes. Did they absolutely need it? Also yes.), I have a rocking double ear infection, and my husband was on quarantine because he was sick and couldn’t go into work until he got a negative covid test. (He did on Thursday, it was just a cold.) Oh yeah, and the dishwasher broke!
But my first shift as an election judge was also this week and went well; I actually had a really good time doing it too.
So I worked a 12:30am to closing shift. Polls close at 7pm but rules are that everyone in line at 7pm gets to vote and then you have to do the close down procedures with the other judges- I was home right before 9pm.
When I got there it was quite busy but first things first for me- I had to get sworn in. The Republican election judge came up to me and said: “You’re new so we’ll swear together.” To which I replied: “Now I’ve been practicing, but exactly how many curse words do I need to know for this?” He… did not find this funny. (One of the new clerks did though- and we were friends through the rest of the day.)
Swearing in involved reading a thing about upholding the sanctity of the election process and not showing favoritism to one party over another, etc. while holding up your right hand and being told to keep our voices down because it was done just feet away from people voting and they didn’t want this to be a distraction. The day, obviously, was not about us but all about the voters right from the get go, it was awesome.
Alright, so I was all sworn and give a name tag- first job? Handing out finger condoms and managing the line of people waiting to vote. I called them “finger protectors” as I was handing them out, but we all know what they are.
We have touch screen machines in Texas, so that was a way for people to use the machines while reducing the coronavirus risk. There were also people cleaning after every voter at every station, and cleaning every machine after every vote- I was quite happy with the safety precautions.
While I was handing out the finger protectors I had a guy launch one across the room trying to put it on- it was like that restaurant scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Robert’s is trying to eat snails. I also had an older lady wiggle her eyebrows at me and ask: “And honey, what do I need THIS for?” She had a glint in her eye, I knew what she meant. I replied: “Ma’am, it helps prevent unplanned presidency.” She laughed and it reminded me of my own grandmother and her occasionally bawdy sense of humor.
That line spanned the normal parking lot and the overflow parking lot both for nearly the entire time I was working. It was amazing to see the turnout. Numbers back that up too, early voting is WAY up in Texas.
I didn’t see one person try to come in without a mask, and only had one person try to come through with a campaign specific item on (GUESS)- and she took it off when explained it was a federal law that she couldn’t wear it in. I DID have a lady who came through in a homemade black dress and a white lace collar and she was pretty obviously dressed at Ruth Bader Ginsberg- but that’s okay by the rules. Good for you, lady, you do you.
It just… it was a good day working with people of all political beliefs and you know what it showed? We’re all the same. You can’t always tell us apart from each other and even when you can, we can all still get along. As a country we used to remember that better than we do now. We will again, I’m sure.
So I have another early voting shift next week and then it’s the all day shift on Election Day. (Election day is the 3rd. You don’t need me to tell you to vote, but I’m going to do it anyway: VOTE!) I am legitimately looking forward to it!
And it was a special year to get me to do this… but I love the back of the house view of the elections at work- I can see volunteering for this again in the future too.
Now I have to head out to buy a dishwasher- that has my vote!
- “New Dishwasher 2020- a return to sanity!”
- “Vote New Dishwasher in 2020, because hand washing wants to keep you barefoot in the kitchen.”
- New Dishwasher 2020- Make Cleaning Easy Again!”
- “538 Electoral College Votes for New Dishwasher, why that’s the biggest landslide in history!”