[EM] Re: Observations of a Poll Worker

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Thu Mar 7 12:22:08 PST 2002

Jurij Toplak wrote:

>Why is ID checking against the law?!

That's a good question.  I think ID should be required for voting, so maybe
you'd be better off asking somebody who agrees with the policy to explain
why we have it.  I don't know if other states have different rules.

>what happens if someone comes and votes under my name and then I come to
>vote? They don't let me vote?! And they don't know who was voting instead
>of me and how he voted.  That means that his vote still counts and mine
>does not. I find that quite strange.

In California you would receive a provisional ballot.  You would put your
ballot in a sealed envelope and on the outside write your name, address,
and reason why you couldn't vote regularly.  Normally the reason is that
you never received an absentee ballot in the mail, but the provisional
ballots can be used for cases of alleged fraud.  As a poll worker I would
call the elections office immediately, to make sure it was investigated.

The elections office would investigate the claim.  Presumably they would
compare the signature on the envelope and the signature in the voter roster
(signature of whoever came in posing as you) with the signature you gave
when you initially registered to vote (I believe ID is required for the
registration).  They wouldn't be able to remove the ballot of whoever voted
in your place because all ballots are secret (they wouldn't know whose it
was) but they would be able to count your ballot.

>So you volunteer at the polls? Does that mean that you do not get paid? Is
>that the practise in whole US?

I guess volunteer isn't quite the right word.  In Santa Barbara poll
workers are paid $60 to $85 (depending on level of responsibility).  Since
we work about 14 to 17 hours (counting some preparation before the election
day) that is basically volunteering (it's less than minimum wage).

Alex Small

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