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Back to it today: worked at one stop this morning, had general election poll worker training in the afternoon, then straight to the Guess Rd. staging area.

Poll worker training was great. I learned a couple of very interesting things. First, someone had asked me a little while ago when (and if) early vote, absentee and provisional ballots are counted. I researched it online but couldn't find an exact answer. Well Mike Ashe gave us an exact answer today. Each of the seven early vote locations is considered a precinct just like the Election Day precincts. Absentee by mail votes are another, and the last precinct is the provisional ballots. All Election Day votes, early votes, and absentee by mail votes are counted on November 4. The provisional ballots are each reviewed individually by the Board of Elections, and the ones deemed legitimate are counted within one week of election day.

The other really interesting thing is a new rule: no cell phones or video cameras inside the polling place. Why? To prevent vote selling. The concern is that people will sell their votes and then photograph their ballots to prove they voted the way they had promised, in order to get paid. I have no idea if there have been any actual proven cases of this in the US. But I have to admit, that if there's a campaign to stop imaginary vote fraud in NC, and the result is fewer annoying cell phones in the polling place (which is also my workplace), that's just fine. It's a lot better than efforts against imaginary vote fraud which result in systematic vote suppression.

My friend Francesca told me that vote selling is common in Italy, so common that poll workers have to check voter cell phones and cameras at the door. We don't have to be that extreme. We do have to stop anyone if we see them using a cell phone, whether to take a photo or to make a phone call. Mike Ashe said that some people are so excited about voting, they want to have their photo taken standing in front of the ballot box. He said that's difficult to prevent, and just try to get them out as quickly as possible. But we should take strong action if we see someone taking a close-up photo of their completed ballot.

ETA: there was actually a third interesting thing. Mike told us that NC is the only state in the country in which the presidential race is not included in the straight ticket. One of the poll workers from my one stop location asked him why. His jokey response was "because we're special," but his serious response was that it happened in 1972. The state Democrats sensed that McGovern was going to lose bigtime, and they didn't want the downticket races to lose bigtime, so they removed the presidential race from the straight ticket. And no state legislature has ever put it back. And there you go.

This evening at the staging area, I made phone calls, entered data, shredded old lists, cleaned up, and had training in how to create phone lists and walk lists. That way if volunteers come in and we don't have a list for them, I can print one out real quick.

Something new in the data: when I was entering data from a call list, some of the names were missing. The names were on the printed page but when I called up the same list on the computer, they weren't there. I had never encountered that before yesterday, and when I asked about it one of the other guys said the same thing. We realized that it must be people who just voted. They were on the printed list, but then they voted so they were filtered out of the same list when I viewed it on the computer. Wow.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah published on October 23, 2008 8:38 PM.

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