Today’s cuppa celebrates the people who do the work that makes elections possible.
Being an Election Clerk or an Election Judge can be fun, such as when you learn that somebody’s a first-time voter, and you cheer for them as they proudly accept their “I voted” sticker. There’s also a thrill that comes from knowing that you’re contributing to history, even on a small scale – a thrill that can cause your heart to beat just a bit faster, even if only for a moment.
Mostly, however, working in an election involves a repetitive process of making sure stuff happens in the right way, at the right time, and gets to the right place in the right format. You must arrive at the polling place early, often before the sun is up, and you’re the last one to leave at the end of the day, which might end up being longer than you anticipated (it’s up to you to ensure that everybody who is in line when the polls close at your location gets to vote, no matter how long it takes). In between the start and the end, you are responsible for the machines, and the papers, and the questions, and everything else it takes to manage the process at your location.
During popular elections, the work can keep you on your toes. During off-years, there might be long stretches of the day when nothing happens, when you’re waiting for somebody to show up and cast their vote. Sadly, slow election days tend to be more common than the ones that keep you busy; nevertheless, they still require coordination and people to make them happen.
If you’d like to contribute to the election process, you may want to find out how to participate in these types of roles. Requirements vary, based on local election rules; you can learn more through your elections office. While there are specific expectations and possibly training involved, it’s typically not difficult be to be part of the action.
The success of free and fair elections depends on the willingness of citizens to contribute to the process. So, here’s to the election workers. Thank you for all you do so that we can make our voices heard.