A funny thing happened on the way to the PA Primary
It’s been a week since the PA Primary ended and as usual I was there on the front line as a poll worker.
I will keep saying it; elections should only happen every other year as there are way too many elections scheduled.
Yes I truly do enjoy my time, it’s always fun engaging in conversation with strangers, helping individuals follow the process and of course the occasional conspiracy theory.
This is the 4th election with the current voting machines and I love the current equipment even though many voters hate it. The previous machines were archaic with a stupid cartridge that needed to be placed on the unit to make the ballot accessible that was more of a reminder of the old Nintendo game system. Yet, at least dozen or more times, voters will ask if PA is ever gonna return to the old units and when saying “no I believe they’ve all been crushed” you would think we destroyed the beloved family truckster and oh so many memories.
But the stories, every election there’s more head scratchers:
#1 – I don’t like my candidates –
PA Primaries are closed to DEM’ers / GOP’ers only and you can only vote on your Party ballot. I actually had a voter call me over to her “privacy booth” to ask a question, yet it was not what I was expecting.
Voter: “I don’t like my candidates”
Me: “Um, well it’s a closed election, you can only vote on your Party ticket. Can’t crossover”
Voter: “Really? But I don’t like any of these folks”
Me: “I cannot tell/suggest who you can/should vote for, but there is no time limit so if you need to take some time to think or research the candidates you can”
10 minutes later that voter made their choices, not sure if they did a coin flip or did some research
#2 – I don’t vote my Party registration –
Some folks I don’t understand and again PA Primaries are closed so you gotta vote your Party ballot. Or better yet don’t vote at all
A voter walked into the precinct to vote and became upset that he couldn’t vote on the other Party’s ballot. After explaining the rules of the PA Primary (even local Media was reminding people a week in advance) the voter began to suggest I was a liar and that in the past he was able to do so.
This is when the Judge walks over to re-explain everything to the voter who declares he hasn’t voted for his registered Party in over a decade and stormed out the door.
2 things here, if the voter had voted in a Primary for the other Party then shame on whoever allowed him to do so (plus I do not know the “fraud” that would involve), but more importantly and it was a question I was not allowed to ask “If you don’t vote for your registered Party, why are you still with them?”
#3 – So well prepared –
My oh my, people did come prepared w/cheat sheets to vote on a single sheet of paper. And even with all their prep work they still spent an average of 10 minutes completing their ballot
#4 – Voter machine conspiracy –
Many people do not trust the machines we’ve used for 2 years now. One reason of course is drumbeats of “Voter Fraud” and the other being they are relatively new, therefore untrustworthy.
But I truly enjoy when people ask question about how the unit works and so on. It’s like a little class or could be a fun “Schoolhouse Rocks” video and too watch the little conspiracy thoughts trickle out of their brain as they walk away brings a giggle
#5 – Lack of ballots –
Yes it was true that the brain-trust of the PA election committee printed out fewer ballots.
In the precinct that I volunteer at there are 2 Districts under one roof and when counting the ballots prior to opening we knew immediately there was gonna be an issue. Sure enough, by late afternoon, 1 District ran out of one of the Party ballots and it only took a matter of 30 minutes for the township to know and rumor/conspiracy to fly with a Voter asking questions.
Voter: “Why is ‘Party’ only allowed to vote on one machine? What’s this craziness? ”
Me: “Well to be correct, yes the District did run out of ballots and until the county is able to get additional ballots on site, any voter for that Party will be using the ‘Express’ unit; basically you’re given a blank/empty ballot, slide the ballot in the ‘Express’ unit, that Party ballot appears on the screen, make your picks then the ballot is marked with a bar code with your picks, and then you scan it on the main unit to cast your vote. Everyone gets to vote, legally, no gimmicks”
Voter: (sigh of relief) “Wait till I call her back, making me all worried for nothing”
I love squashing rumor/conspiracy
I think I may have to write a book on Election Day Shenanigans, yeah it would be many short stories but every one of them would be legit
That’s it, slap the tap, pass the peanut bowl, start clipping those coupons to pay your political tab because the price is gonna keep climbing