(Roses still blooming in my garden. Nothing to do with today’s post.)
Bet you think that maybe I’m off today, working the polls at a local precinct.
But . . . I’m not there.
Because . . . I quit.
When I signed on to become an election worker in my community – back in late 2019 – I was enthusiastic and inspired to take an active role in something I believed in . . . voting. My first election to work was the Michigan Presidential primary in March 2020 . . . just days before everything hit the proverbial fan with Covid. I’ve worked most of the elections since then (and there have been a lot of them here!).
I can’t say I ever enjoyed the work. The days are very long for election workers at the polls (16 hours, typically, per election). It can be very boring. Sometimes I was assigned with very nice co-workers, but often I worked with some very . . . annoying . . . personalities. And that’s always draining. But I was committed to the election process. I was impressed with the training I received; the voting/election systems in place are sound. And they work! (I wish everyone in the country understood the election safeguarding process. When results show that there is minimal-to-no voter fraud, I absolutely believe that. And you should, too.)
But things have started feeling very different about working elections since the 2020 Presidential fiasco. It feels threatening to be an election worker. Although my community is doing what it can to keep the polls safe — and, really, most voters coming to the precincts I’ve been assigned have been polite and well-mannered — the work feels risky. And . . . heroic. At 63, I’m on the younger end of election workers. We’re a bunch of old people . . . suddenly feeling like we need to “police” the polls and contend with angry people who can stand over our shoulders, watching our every move.
And, y’know. This is not what I signed on for.
Do I feel guilty about not being there at the polls today? Yes. Yes, I do. Very much.
But I’m also glad I’m not. (And each member of my family is glad I’m not there, too.)
It’s not so much that I’m intimidated (like I said, my precincts have always been very civil). It’s just . . . a rather icky job to begin with, now with added threats and a heaping helping of distrust poured over the top. I’ve just decided that . . . I don’t need that kind of hassle.
And that’s a shame.
So today . . . I’m not working at the polls. I tip my hat to all my former colleagues who are more devoted and committed than I am. (Hang in there, guys!)
I’ll be spending my time today girding my loins and preserving my energy for outrages to come.
If you haven’t already voted today, please get out and do so!