The March 21 primary election is now over, and the Kosey mailbox can go back to getting stuffed with charitable requests in place of campaign literature. Of course, that will last only until the November election gets into high gear and then?”here we go again. How many trees went for campaign material? Just wondering.
We were spared the dreaded chads and dimples this election, although many an election judge would rather have contended with them than the new system.
Frankly, the new system will be easy for everyone once the kinks are out of it. But on March 21 we had machines that worked, didn’t work and worked again?”all in the same day. The paper ballots were long and printed on two sides. Anyone who complained on the length needs to be reminded that the ballot formerly was in a booklet form.
OK, so you thought about using the “machine” to touch vote, but had a fear of doing so. The brave liked it. It’s private (if set up correctly), quick and you can change your answers easily. Those who used it liked it.
Don’t like to vote in a Primary election? Don’t want to “declare” yourself? This year judges were instructed not to use the “D” word, but rather were instructed to ask voters which ballot they “preferred” and to explain about non-partisan voting.
Choosing your ballot choice does not go on your permanent record, does not make you one thing or another or oblige you to vote for the same party in the November election, so there’s no excuses for not voting in the primary.
Did you know election judges attend a three-hour instructional class and some attend an additional two-hour class to serve as a technical judge? They also take a test for each class, which they must pass, and are given a book to study.
I got 100 percent correct on my second test and I passed the first test, although I did not get 100 on that one. As with all people taking classes, some do better than others and pay attention better than others, but everything you need to know is in the book.
It’s not exactly “Being an Election Judge for Dummies” but it is comprehensive. The book also contains the numbers of whom to call when trouble hits the precinct, whether it is the machines or voting problems.
As a judge you arrive at 5 a.m. and hope you are having a good hair day, since you never know who will be there or who you will see. This year at our polling place it was the news media who took all the good parking places and swarmed in as candidate Judy Baar Topinka arrived to vote.
Luckily, all the election judges at Blythe Park School were alert and looked as if we knew what we were doing. It was exciting. Some of us appearing on the news during the day, although we didn’t see it, because we were prisoners in a polling place.
As the day goes on, you get a coffee cake, lunch and a chance to see people you may only get to see at the polls. You catch up on some of your regular voters and meet the new people who have moved into the area.
It’s always great to see John B. from the Chicago Bears (thanks for the hat, John). Then there is Eunice and my buddy, Anthony, David M. and Bobby (a musician who will be the subject of a column soon).
It’s good to see first time voters exercising their right to vote. The hours are long, and sometimes it gets boring. But you have the company of your fellow election judges, and the judges at Blythe Park School precincts 8 and 14 are a good bunch. We do try to have a good time.
So, hopefully, I have properly disposed of the campaign literature and for a while, and I will put the election out of mind until the next piece of campaign material makes its way into the Kosey mailbox.