Thank You, Poll Workers!

I sent a letter, first time ever, a year ago to our local election administrator thanking them for their service. COVID was rampant, the weather was crummy most days, and the number of polling places had been taken from over 150 down to five. Remember seeing that stock photo for the past year with a voter standing in an interminable line with a sign that said “This is ridiculous”? That’s our town.

It was time to send for my first-ever absentee ballot, because I was terrified of getting COVID. I couldn’t believe that these brave souls were going to mask up and brave interacting with the general public on election day, and paid poll workers and volunteers were going to spend time with each other, potentially falling ill, afterwards to count the ballots. So I thanked them in advance.

I’ve been voting for over forty years and have always gone to the polls. Sometimes they see me walk in and have their finger on the page on my name, ready to sign, sometimes they don’t know me from Adam. I expect a Republican and a Democrat probably sat at that table together for years. Perhaps they see each other only a few times per year, and they pass the time on breaks asking about each others’ families.

My adoptive grandmother, recently deceased at age 93 was active as a poll worker in my husband’s home state until her late 80’s. She knew everyone in town and took pride in her volunteer efforts for over fifty years.

Yesterday we got the news that there were 41 fraudulent ballots cast in our state. Out of 3.3 million votes. Half were mistakenly addressed to voters at their UPS store. All in the same area, I’m guessing it’s a rural area and that’s where they have a mail box. While it’s legal to have a drivers license sent to a UPS store, it’s not valid as a voting address. A quarter of them were illegally sent to nursing homes. State law requires a poll worker to personally deliver a ballot in certain cases to nursing home residents and last year, the law prohibited any visitor to any nursing home in the state because of COVID. One was a person with dementia who had voted seven times in the past three years and was not allowed to vote because of, you got it, dementia.

Our votes were counted twice and certified. Then the Trump Campaign paid to have our votes and those of another “Biden County” recounted for a third try. Nothing changed.

Now 48 states are changing their voting laws to basically prohibit “the wrong people” from voting and having politicians take over the count and certification if they don’t like the result. And Republicans are running for election-running offices so that they can control the counts and eliminate undesirable voters and their votes.

It’s normally a boring enterprise, as I recall when my legislative committee handled legislation pertinent to the Department of State. It included elections/reapportionment, fire and building codes, and licenses for non-medical or legal fields, such as cosmetologists, financial planners et al. Nothing earth-shattering back then.

Keeping the minority in charge for a few more years may require the shenanigans that are happening with election tampering and voter suppression, with an insurrection thrown in for good measure. We can hope that our nationally elected legislators and new President will keep things from going too far, them and the courts.

In this political maelstrom, a whole lot of people have been given short shrift, not only not thanked for doing a thankless task, but being accused of tampering with ballots. We expect some recounts, but not repeated recounts in only certain districts that voted “wrong” and certainly not anything like the debacle going on now in Arizona.

Poll workers deserve our thanks. They are patriots, willing to get their hands dirty a couple of days a year and do their civic duty. They are hard-working, honest people who keep our country running. This year, America has done them a grave disservice. This must be rectified, from the big cities to the smallest towns. Any ideas? Cheers, Dee

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