I started writing up my day as an election judge and then life intervened and I didn’t get it done. But, I had set myself up that I wanted to get it done before doing anything else, so the longer it went, the worse it got. I felt I couldn’t write anything new without finishing my election recap. So, I’m now backing off on that and presenting here an abbreviated version of my election recap so I can get on with life and actually post again.
Election day for me started early. Very early! I woke up at 4:15am and left my house in south Durham before 5:30am so I could be at the NC School of Science & Math by 6am. I’m an “emergency [election] judge” in Durham county, meaning I fill in where other judges cannot during an election, and as an unaffiliated voter, I can serve as a replacement judge for either party. For this election I was filling in for the Republican party judge in precinct 4 who was unable to be here for the election. We had set everything up the night before, so we were pretty good to go and opened the doors right at 6:30am.
We had a line waiting for us as we opened the door and for the next two hours turnout was fairly heavy. We got about 200 votes over those 2 hours. After that it slowed down quite a bit. I talked for a while with our other judges and election officials and because I was the judge with the least to do (because my main function was watching over the ballot machine), I ended up processing curbside voters.
The big news of the morning was that our chief judge had talked to someone the night before that had said the Bill Clinton was planning to come by, probably sometime between 5-7pm. We weren’t really sure if it was the real thing, though.
We had brought quite a bit of food to snack on and had planned to call up and order lunch from Elmo’s and have my wife bring the order by, since we couldn’t, by law, leave the polling place. When we went to order lunch, though, neither of the other judges were hungry and the other officials were only working a half day, so I ended up being the only that that ordered lunch.
About 2-ish, we had someone come by and say that the democratic party office had told him Bill Clinton would be arriving at 3:30. Sure enough, we started seeing Secret Service and State Police outside. We didn’t want anyone voting to miss the opportunity to see the former president, so we made periodic announcements about his imminent arrival and worked out a schedule so that officials could go outside to see him and we’d still have everything covered. I managed some provisional ballots while our Chief Judge was out trying to see Clinton and then I went out to try to see him myself. I managed to get lucky and both shake his hand and get this picture of him. He looked very tired, not surprisingly.
The main problem, however, with Clinton’s visit was that the police ended up blocking off our handicap parking and curbside voter location. In fact, I ended up walking down the street to process two curbside voters while Clinton was visiting. I understand the need for security, but the primary reason we were there that day was to vote, not to see Clinton and I fault his group a bit for that.
Other things that happened that day include running out of under 18 ballots and getting more delivered. We also processed over 20 provisional ballots! (By contrast, the last election they said they only processed a very few provisional ballots, under 5.)
By the time 7:30 came around, we had started taking things down and closed down the polls right on time since there was no one waiting to vote. We hooked up the ballot machine to the phone line to transmit the results and may have actually transmitted them twice since it wasn’t clear if it went through the first time. (Note that they aren’t actually counted twice since it is the same data.) We broke everything down, loaded up and the chief judge and other judge headed off to the BOE for the audit. (Normally only the chief judge goes, but our chief judge has an eye disability where she can’t drive at night so the other judge drove her.) The chief judge was concerned about making it to the BOE in time, but I heard later that she ended up being the first precinct to make it to the BOE for the audit!
So, all in all, it was a very long, but good day. We had over 60% of the registered voters in the precinct vote, and this is just a primary! It will be interesting to see what the general election brings.
Also, it looks like there will be a runoff for 2 primaries. This will entail a runoff primary on June 24. I will again be working as an election official that day and have been assigned to work precinct 4 again. However, this time, instead of expecting 800 voters, we’ll basically be expecting 8. So, not only will that be a very long day, but probably a very boring day. If only the General Assembly had actually taken up the “Instant-Runoff Voting” bill a few years ago.
Anyway, now that the recap is out of the way, I can finally start posting again. I want to post about the Trips for Kids Triangle group I went biking with this weekend that takes inner city youth out for mountain biking rides and there’s the Ride of Silence I went to tonight. Also, I’ve been getting ready to head down to Orangeburg, SC this weekend for the National Sport (High Power Rocketry) Launch with the National Association of Rocketry and I’m busy building a couple of high power rockets. But more on all that later!