I was employed by a candidate in today’s election to be a poll watcher. Since I am an inveterate “people watcher” and since he was paying me, I thought “How hard can that be?”
So I suited up, and showed up bright and early at my assigned precinct and settled in to watch the polls. I forget what my original mission was, just look official I guess. Scowl a lot, and examine each voter for concealed weapons? I’m not sure. All I knew is that I had to entertain myself for at least 12 long hours.
It didn’t take five minutes to learn this was like a big cocktail party. I saw folks I haven’t seen in years and I became a sort of Miss Hospitality – greeting, hugging, looking at baby pictures – this was right up my alley. I was having the time of my life.
My precinct captain – let’s call her Ann McWhorter (why not? that’s her name), pulled me aside and showed me the rules of my questionable “office.” Rule number one was no fraternizing with the voters – it might distract them from their mission or worse, I might influence them to vote for my candidate. Strictly forbidden. She mentioned that they had kind of overlooked my indiscretions all morning, but maybe I should fade into the woodwork.
The cocktail party came to a screeching halt. I sat for the next four hours hours in a folding chair, pouting, peeling off my nail polish and counting the minutes until I could go home. Somewhere about 3 p.m. I struck up a friendship with the legitimate poll workers.
We began dipping into the goodies Ann had brought to keep us motivated. There were homemade loaves of friendship bread, cans of nuts and chips and my new friend Nell Egli had made a batch of delicious candies which practically sent me into a coma. The huge throngs of voters began to wane a bit and we could visit and chat about important stuff – other than the election at hand. The cocktail party atmosphere miraculously returned.
At the end of the day, I had made three new friends (two from opposing parties) and left feeling pretty good. My candidate/employer had a tiny lead so at least I could phone him with encouraging results. Ann decided that I should become an official poll worker during the next election so she could control my activities. Oh, I do love a party!
What impressed me so much about this day is the passionate turn-out. I saw octegenarians and eighteen year olds voting side by side. I have to hope that whatever the outcome, America will be more united.