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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Poll watchers

Via America For Sale, CNN is reporting:

A team of international observers will monitor the presidential election in November, according to the U.S. State Department.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was invited to monitor the election by the State Department. The observers will come from the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

The prospect of international observers monitoring our elections seems ridiculous to say the least. I don't particularly like the idea. Maybe a more ridiculous idea is that more Americans don't get involved in the election process. That is, the process that occurs at the polls on election day.

I highly recommend anyone who is even slightly upset at this notion to become a poll watcher. Do it at least once. Do it for yourself. Do it for your country. Do it for democracy. To get started and find out what is involved, just contact your local precinct committeeperson. If they won't help, go higher.

I was a poll watcher in the City of Chicago in a statewide election in 1982. It was exhilarating and a little exhausting. But, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. And, it was a great lesson in civics.

A few memories...

Near the end of the day, after being falsely accused of illegal activity, I calmly convinced the cop on duty, who was swinging his billy club in a very intimidating way, not to arrest me. I wasn't intimidated. I really felt like more was at stake than just being arrested.

When they locked me out of the room when it came time to count the ballots, I not-so-calmly banged on the door, drawing the attention of lots of senior citizens who lived in the place where the poll was located, until the poll workers couldn't take it anymore and let me in.

Oh, and I successfully thwarted a ballot miscount. I'm not saying the miscount was deliberate or intentionally malicious. It was more a matter of convenience on their parts. Just suffice it to say that they were going to throw out a few ballots to try to make the ballots balance with the votes. I made sure every vote was properly counted in that precinct that night.

Talk about a fucking righteous feeling? Oh, yeah. It was great.

Posted by Marie at August 10, 2004 12:56 AM