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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WORKING THE POLLS – OUR FINEST CITIZENS SHOW TRUE EXCELLENCE

Working the Voting Polls is better than gawking at the mall. I just left the polls and went to dine at Weinerschnitzel with Todd. Why did they leave out the “der” in Weinerschnitzel? I share with him that after an hour of fumbling around we finally got our voting pecking order: Cheryl handles the roster signatures, Betty and I will handle the initial rosters (there are three, one for the outside, a master, and a backup). Hugh will do the provisional ballots and signatures. Marissa and Hugh will tear off the ballots, keep track of the “voids”, handicap voters, Spanish voters and the exit door. Betty and I are to color code voters until 6pm, even though the campaign ends at 8pm. Why do they stop at 6pm? I don’t know. We have to have two sets of colored pencils. Our leader forgot hers so thanks to Eleanor, an ‘Italiano’ and eight year poll veteran, and good looking lady of 65 years with no fat anywhere. Her team is dressed in shades of green, all dressed California casual. We are the Motley crew, but as one voter said “colorful”. Apparently Eleanor fell off of her roof and had to have knee surgery. She said after having two children she can deal with just about any pain. I can remember breaking my own leg; I don’t wish that on anyone. In spite of her not being in stilletos, she dons a wood cane, minus top hat, and keeps the spirit up, “they may be slow on the top but there’s a fire below”, she quipped. Given a negative prognosis of healing, not quite Ginger Rogers either, she is walking, dancing and able to swing her bad leg. Apparently we aren’t allowed to bring music to this venue (no one knows why) but she provides additional entertainment. Eleanor loves men, the thick Adanos types preferred but she’ll ogle the thinner types also. We get the leftovers. KR walks in. He coordinates the Obama folks locally after Susan gave it up. He comes to our side and offers that he is going to Avalon for the Hollywood after party. I heard it is an awesome Hollywood eye candy and sound venue. Why go locally he asks? I only smiled. In my head I thought, it is 40 miles closer (one way), less wear and tear on the car, no parking fees, gas is up to $3.20/gallon, no dings on the car. The drinks at the Bailey’s are cheaper and larger, you are around friends, and it builds up the local moral for Obama. We don’t need movie stars to validate ourselves, no crowd rubbing; Maria Shriver, Ophra, Edward Kennedy, Alex Baldwin aren’t going to be there so why pay the cover charge? But he knows all of this.

I am walking around in the garage and can’t find my colored pencils. The last time I used them was for the calculus graphing assignments. Now there is a period in my life I need to revisit with you, one day. It makes setting up for a voting poll a piece of cake. But calculus is working with your brain, concepts and figures, not people, great for policy wonks. A couple of us walked the perimeter looking for a black lab puppy. Apparently someone opened the door of one of the elder poll worker’s camper and he is gone. She’s not in tears but frozen. An hour later we hear that her son came by, picked him up thinking that “puppy” shouldn’t be left in the vehicle all day. Nice kid, but why didn’t he call his mother and tell her? She was only 100 feet away. Now she is going to need to get her blood pressure down. The bathroom in the HOA is smelling so bad that one of the workers put wet newspapers under the door to cut the odor. I would never have thought to do that. But it does bring the smell down. There is a continuous flow of people coming in all morning. A well dressed, suited eager beaver arrives at 6:32AM and wants to vote before he goes into work. He doesn’t know about that little law that says your employer can give you up to two hours to go and vote but he offers he has clients all day, can he fill in the ballot and we process it accordingly. Almost in unison we say “NO”. Besides we haven’t yet zeroed out the machines. That has to be done first before you are officially open. He is clueless when Matilda offers this. He runs off, cruel missives are tossed at us as he misses the “mystery step” which was a problem all morning. Eleanor runs green masking tape to indicate her side of the room, where to stand, and applies beige masking “Please wait” tape with added green arrows for directions. Problem? Many voters, once they received their ballots, wanted to walk to the opposite side of the room to return them, even when Hugh and Marissa had instructed them otherwise. It became entertainment for Betty and I as a continuous flow of individuals didn’t follow instructions. Eleanor then started double lining the tape which lasted all of four minutes when one guy in new white Perry Etonic sneakers with the black leather lightning strike sucked her floor rules right out the door. Not nice, but Beverly and I got a good laugh with Cheryl and Hugh chiming in. The look on Eleanor’s face was priceless and everyone got a thunderous laugh out of that one. I noticed when you complemented a lady for looking great, they wanted to get into a chit chat with you, instead of just saying ‘thanks’. I had never noticed that before. And you would have thought they knew this before they left the house. People must not buy mirrors anymore.

Minerva Williams,
Mighty Thunder

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