‘Are you going to write about this, because I would like to read it?” That was the question posed by one of the faithful voters in line at Precinct 8 at Blythe Park School during the election that shouldn’t have been on March 17.
Precinct 8 had problems from the beginning.
We set up the polling place on Monday in the library. We had three judges to do the job; we should have been five judges. Equipment malfunctioned and we made numerous calls to the election people.
Some calls helped, but after more than three hours, we trained judges decided nothing else could be done until morning. We arrived Tuesday at 5 a.m. and were met with the same problems and a few added, must have been gremlins overnight.
Numerous calls again. Technicians were dispatched and we received some help. By fixing one wrong password, we got one station working, but no one could vote on the touchscreens, because they didn’t work. Let’s use the paper ballots.
Then the one working e-poll book, the one where you check in (we had two, only one worked) decided to shut down. Now what?
Looking in the manual, I asked if anyone would be willing to call the legal hotline and complain. Thank you to the nice young man who called. Within 15 minutes, I had someone explaining how to do the emergency voting. Thank you, young man, whoever you are.
We were off and running using the old-fashioned method, signing the book next to your name and choosing your ballot. Luckily, we were able to have the scanner working by then, so each ballot could be fed into it manually at closing.
So much for technology at Precinct 8.
By the time we finished, it was after 9 p.m. and one judge took results to the receiving station in Countryside.
Here is the kicker: Two of us, in the confusion, didn’t sign the pay sheet, so they said we will not get paid. Want to make a bet on that? Will let you know. How many hours were we there?
Thanks to all 296 voters who showed up and were patient. Sorry to those who had to leave and couldn’t vote. Sorry to those who couldn’t register. Thanks to our committeemen who brought us a bipartisan lunch, Republican Mike Dropka and Democrat Mike Zalewski. And thanks to my fellow judges, Eileen Grimm and Jane Fremgen (love those girls).
I love seeing and catching up with our voters, having candy for them and (this time) handing them sanitized Sharpies. It was my pleasure.
Hope you’re taking care. Thanks to Riverside Foods, Tischler’s and Chew Chew for helping all. Give them your support.
And don’t forget: wash your hands (take a drink).