Two days. It took a full two days to really recover from the hangover of working the most monumental election in history. 17 hours. Checking identifications, birth dates, addresses and relaying the names letter by letter to two other volunteers.
I thought I was prepared for the day, but I was sadly mistaken! I thought I would be able to it back to my house for lunch… nope. Thank goodness for my mom that lives down the street from the polling location, Pizza Artista for the donations and a Commissioner in Charge that was a pro!
Early Morning and Learning Lessons
I was scheduled to arrive at my polling location at 5:15 am, but I arrived at 5:00 am to make sure I was there early to ask questions if needed. Walking in to the gym of the school I quickly noticed I was the youngest election worker by probably 20 years!
The morning began quickly since the polls opened at 6:00 am and the line was starting to form shortly after I arrived. We were given a bag with signs for social distancing, masks and hand sanitizer. The Commissioner in Charge advised us on where to post all of the posters of the ballots, identification accepted and amendments. We were briefed on how the day would go and the steps we must take to verify and re-verify the public’s identity.
Time to Open the Gates!
The moment the polls opened I knew this would be a crazy and exciting day. We were non-stop for six hours straight. We would check the count of voters every thirty minutes between the books and the counts on the polling machines to make sure we all matched.
After the first six and a half hours we finally had a break. After about an hour and a half the pace started to pick up again. It was steady for the rest of the day until the polls closed at 8:00 pm.
At the closing of the day we began to pack up and run the reports. Each poll had to run its own report of the vote counts. There were numerous forms that needed to be signed by the election workers, reviewed, reviewed again, placed in their respective folders and then again within their respective pouches that would then be delivered to the Clerk of Court. All of the closing tasks took our precinct about an hour.
This experience was truly eyeopening. From watching the numbers of people coming through the doors to make their voices heard to seeing the pole watchers come in throughout the day to check the turnout.
Here are a few things to make your next voting experience seamless.
- Download the Geaux Vote app! This app is amazing and gives you a wealth of knowledge and all of the information you need for election day.
- Know your precinct number before you go. This also goes back to downloading the app mentioned above.
- Don’t be THAT person wearing anything that will be seen as electioneering! YOU WILL be asked to remove the paraphernalia before entering the location. (The law is NO electioneering within 600ft of the polling location)
- Help your children register to vote on their 18th birthday! You are able to register the day of the election at the poles, but you will not be able to vote the same day.
Seventeen hours of working was a LONG day. We were all completely and totally exhausted. Thankfully our group was a blast to work with. The ones who had done this in the past were patient with the newbies in teaching us all we needed to know to help the day go smoothly. We laughed a lot. We met new neighbors! I was even able to meet a couple Lafayette Mom writers …. finally!
Even after the long day I am truly looking forward to working for another election. The sense of community with all of the volunteers was heartwarming. The fact that the volunteers took time out of their day to be a part of something bigger, something monumental, was a feeling that words can never express.