Go Become an Election Judge Today!
The Baltimore Sun has a good autopsy today on the train wreck which was the Maryland primary of Tuesday last. From the headline--"ELECTION JUDGES NEEDED"--and repeated over and over again in the story is the refrain that should tell you what you can, and should, do now:
Call your county clerk's office and ask how you can become an election judge. If that office isn't in charge of the process-it is most places I know of--they can tell you who to call instead.
This is late in the game to be joining the team but this year is unique because of HAVA and the electronic voting machines. No you do not need to know UNIX to take part. You do not need to be any kind of uber-geeky-nerd with mad hacker skillz. You need just as much computer knowledge as you have already proven you have by reading this fucking blog.
You want to start the hair raising early? Read this, from the Sun piece above:
In one instance, at Gambrills Church of God, two election judges quit and an emergency backup judge was called in. But, according to Fisher, the real problem was caused when one of the judges who quit called the other poll workers and told them the precinct would be closed.
The emergency judge, with the help of a Diebold representative, got the polling place set up and open - five minutes late.
"We have to investigate that," Fisher said of the report of poll workers being told not to come in. "I am going to take that to the [county elections] board and to our attorney. And maybe the state board," she said.
Um, yeah, the bogus report from the poll worker needs investigating, but how about that "with the help of the Diebold representative" bit? Might want to look into that too, ma'am. But to carry on:
Election officials said they will try for the general election to recruit high school students, who tend to be more tech-savvy than the typical poll judge, Fisher said.
You also need the physical and financial ability to take off not just an entire Tuesday (Nov. 7 everywhere), possibly some other days depending on where you live, and certainly some other time on assorted days or nights for training sessions.
Would you rather have your polling place overseen by, well, you, or the current crop of retirees who, God bless them for their service over the years, are not among the most tech-savvy of cohorts and are, based on the Maryland data, apparently quitting in droves rather than attempt to deal with a situation they don't feel qualified to handle? Or how about having them replaced by squads of high school students as somebody is proposing in MD?
I am wholeheartedly in favor of involving young people in the electoral process but this ain't the way to go about it. Is Poindexter the school nerd going to have the balls to stand up to the "Diebold representative" who "just wants to check everything over to make sure it's been working [pause for maniacal giggle and a hand-rub] correctly"?
You, dear friend and reader, have such balls. And the knowledge of who to call should such an event occur at your polling place. And how to email the pix you took of the "Diebold representative" with your cellphone, maybe with an extra shot of him swapping out the memory cards, or which buttons he pushed on the judges' master control box.
Eyes from the sky are good, but boots on the ground are better. If you find out when you call that the rules are such that you just can't do it, make it your mission to recruit somebody who can.
A friend or a neighbor out of work, hell a student for that matter who can cut a class that day. Anybody you know to be possessed of personal honesty, a strong will, either a good sitting pillow or well-padded buttocks (the seats are crappy and the day is long), and free time when it's needed.