...busting up my brains for the words

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Election judging

Yesterday I served all day as an election judge in my local precinct. This was my second experience in this job, the first being last November's national general election. There was practically no comparison between the two. There were about 260 voters who'd cast ballots in my polling place yesterday, compared to about 2,000 last November. Last November it was a challenge to accommodate all the voters, while yesterday I had time to read a few chapters of Brave New World.

We judges are advised to not discuss politics with one another. I choose to follow that advice because I'm the only Republican conservative judge in my polling place. For example, a very nice lady who I was working with at the Demonstration Judge table began speaking freely of politics with me. She is of the firm opinion that the presidential election was stolen by Bush in 2000. She also believes that "someone" in our federal government knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance but kept quiet about it in order to allow those attacks to happen. I keep a zipper on my politics because I'd really much rather share the love with my fellow election judges than get into a scream match with them.

And we have a nice time. I enjoyed it. All day long people thank me for helping the democratic process and they smile at me and I feel very much appreciated. That's gold. The bluebirds were singing and the flowers were laughing and the green in the trees were a greener green than I remember seeing on most other days. Since I do this work in my own precinct, I get to say hello to many of my neighbors when they pop in to vote. And that's very nice, too.

There were a few people who wanted to vote that I was unable to allow to do so. They were not registered and failed to present adequate proof of their residency in the precinct. As I mentioned to my Election Judge Chair, I suppose we wouldn't be doing our jobs properly if we didn't encounter a few such cases. For instance, there was a young woman who'd trucked all the way home to get some utility bills to present with her expired photo identification. But upon examining the bills, they were dated as 6 months old! All I can do is sincerely express my regret that I cannot give her a ballot.
Then there as the fellow who was not in the voting roster, had no appropriate i.d., but had a story. He said that he'd registered in August on the National Night Out and should be in our books. But he wasn't. We expressed our regret that he could not be given a ballot and he understood that that's just the way it is. There have to be some rules, right? Otherwise a number of people would get the idea they could vote several times if they wanted to.

Being a Republican and seeing as how there were no Republicans running for mayor of my city, I had only one choice in my own ballot selection. Anybody but R.T.
I don't write about local issues as much as I could, but Minneapolis is experiencing a rising crime rate. I hold the mayor responsible for that and so I would prefer that R.T. be replaced with anyone else who says he or she can fix that. So I voted for a guy I never heard of before who was identified as the No Stadium Tax candidate.
Would my guy be a better mayor than R.T? I don't know. But bouncing R.T. out would speak loud and clearly that the voters are unhappy with rising crime rates. No matter. Rybek was handily reelected in yesterday's primary and will face Peter McLaughlin.
I'll still the the opportunity to vote for Anyone but R.T. this coming November.

As I said earlier, I don't write as much about local politics as I could. I think that may be because it's hard to find candidates locally who are not of the DFL socialist mold. I support Governor Tim Pawlenty and Senator Norm Coleman and candidate Mark Kennedy, who is running for U.S. Senator in next year's election. But the Democrats have firm control of the office of Mayor of Minneapolis. I live in what is essentially as one party town. And that's one of the reasons I work as an election judge. Opposition party judges are necessary in the polling place to ensure that the ruling party bosses are not winning these elections through fraud.


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