Recently, I had the privilege of working as an election Inspector (a poll worker), welcoming voters, checking identifications and generally helping to facilitate the voting process.
Joining me were seven other local residents:
We were four registered Democrats and four Republicans altogether.
During the non-stop, 17-hour day, we shared the responsibilities of maintaining and monitoring the polling station, ensuring that everyone registered to vote could do so in a secure, safe and friendly environment.
Thankfully, everyone who came through was respectful, courteous and genuinely appreciative of all of us, despite the red and blue lanyards denoting each poll worker’s party of choice.
By the end of the day, despite our sometimes divergent political viewpoints, I found myself grateful that all my colleagues, “red” and “blue” alike, had shared their energies, dedication, good humor — and even snacks — throughout the entire day.
I also have to thank the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections for the work it does to make sure the election process goes smoothly and without incident.
From thoroughly training its poll workers, to ensuring that all ballots cast are legitimate, secure and accurately counted, and providing its workers with the resources necessary to complete the associated tasks, I for one am grateful for the BOE’s efforts.
I would also like to give a specific shout out to Scott and Jay, two seasoned election inspectors responsible for providing the overall management, coordination and guidance as needed to the less experienced election inspectors.
A special thanks to both of them!
At a time when as a nation our whole electoral process is being questioned and its legitimacy impugned, it is imperative that in order for our democracy to endure, more of us need to be involved in the voting process.
Beyond actually voting, and unfortunately only about 20% of the electorate participates in local or off-year elections, I strongly recommend that every registered voter should at some point get involved as an election inspector.
Doing so might go some distance in helping to explain the actual voting process, in re-establishing trust in the voting system and may go even further toward bridging the political divide that now exists between us.