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As I went about my day on Election Day volunteering to be a polling place evaluator for my local League (a program instituted by the Board of Elections done in partnership with the League to make sure voters have what they need, poll workers and election judges have what they need and systems are working well on election day) – I thought about the millions of unsung hero’s without whom our democracy would grind to a halt.
I spent my day watching long lines of mostly happy voters being welcomed by caring volunteer poll workers. I marveled at how patient, how attentive, how thorough and helpful so many of them were. Conscientious, earnest, authentic and caring – civic heroes and community champions who serve long hours to make sure polling places are open and run as well as they can with a mighty volunteer force.
I watched as chief judges diligently handled probing questions from “poll watchers” who were monitoring voter turn out, as poll workers carefully ensured that provisional ballots were safely put in sealed envelopes and locked into bright orange sacks, and as election judges carefully assisted voters getting to the machines, managing to keep that right balance between helpfulness and respectful privacy.
In this era of rancorous, partisan divisions and as we come out of the tsunami of negative ads that washed over We, the People for the last few months – I was buoyed by the bright spots I saw this Election Day…the proud father who bends over to tell his little wide eyed daughter how important voting is, the curious excitement of young first time voters, the thoughtful elder couple still discussing how they’ll vote on the numerous ballot measures and most of all the unsung civic heroes who work tireless hours to help make sure our polls are open.
As I left the last polling place today – having heard time and again from election judges how the great the League of Women Voters is, I also carried a sense of pride for being a volunteer with one of the nation’s GREATEST and most respected volunteer organizations whose mission is deeply and historically grounded in making our democracy work!