Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rock the Vote

This past Wednesday Chicago held it's "Primary Vote" (for those who may not be familiar with US Politics, we hold a Primary Vote first to see who will then go onto to battle it out for the Party so all the Republicans are lambasting each other and the Democrats are saying how bad their counterparts are and whoever wins gets to be on the ballot come later this year.)

Now that may be big news, but not in Chicago........oh Chicago the news is around corruption, scandal and stupidity.

The biggest news is that Cook County (which btw is the ENTIRE Chicago Metro Area and comprises almost 9,000,000 people) has moved to a new voting system. In the past we had Punchcards, you know the type that gave George Bush the election, but now we've got a new fangled system, in fact we've got TWO! One is an optical reader where they give you a huge piece of paper (bigger than 11x17, almost the size of a full newspaper page) where you mark you choices in a circle and the other is an electronic ATM style. The problems started coming out on Election Day when they were having problems with the machines and not being able to transmit the data to the home office from the two types of machines. They blamed it on system issues etc. but now they're starting to say that the problem were the people who oversaw the election, the Judges of Election. ((Here's where my rant starts))

I was a Judge of Election in 2000 for the Presidential Election and can I say cluster fuck! My room-mate and I decided that we would do our civic duty and be an Election Judge for Cook County, it was the most unorganized thing I have ever seen. We went to one "training session" downtown where we sat in a room with the scourge of the earth, honestly. We got paid $150 for being a judge and apparently anyone can be a Judge of Election, ANYONE! We got a total of 45 minutes of training as about 300 of us sat in a room and they lectured us and people asked the most stupid and inappropriate questions I've ever heard. We then got a "walk around tour" to show us how to put the booths together and to use some of the equipment.

When we showed up at our precinct at 5:30 am it was utter chaos, my friend and I were literally the youngest people there and we had to take over! I took half of the people for the part up to where you give the voters the ballots and my friend took the other half to handle the voting and recording of the ballots...OH MY GOD!

It was the most disorganized event I have never been in control of, our co-workers ranged from an 80 year old woman who had been a judge for more than 50 years down to a guy who I swear had his bed in his shopping cart right outside the back door.

We got through the day (polls closed at 7:00 and we were home by 9:00 pm - that's 15.5 hours with about 12 minutes for lunch) and I said I would never do that again.

I can see how "easy" it is for the media/politicians/etc to blame the Judges of Election. Because honestly how do you train 1000's of people to run an election when you have no control over their ability or skill set? It's nearly impossible, heck sometimes it's difficult to train co-workers and you know who they are and what they're capable of.

I think you should try it out for yourself sometime, it's not as easy as it looks, plus you're doing your Civic Duty!

Oh the other big "election" news is that we elected a 73 year old man who just had a stroke and probably won't be able to go to work, yeah Chicago!

1 comment:

Karen said...

Ah, the flying chads... We were just laughing about those the other day. Poor US politics!