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At 8:30 a.m., I started my temporary, seasonal, election worker job, doing Signature Verification for my County, which has all-mail voting (the state has been all-mail for many years now). [On the news today is a story stating that our state received a perfect score on its handling of all-mail voting]. I think I made about half a dozen errors, but the supervisors were able to extricate me without much problem. By the end of the day, I checked in the neighborhood of 3,000 ballot signatures.
There were 16 of us at work today, which would account for about 48,000 total ballot signatures verified. Some, but not many, were challenged for various reasons. The most common reason was “signatures do not match.” I had a few. I saw more than one “symbol” signatures, each of which had its required two witness signatures (the most common reason for this is a voter disabled, or otherwise unable to sign their name).
When I have to do a task that could be very boring, I try to make a game out of it, learn something, or both. Today’s experience was both. I had to laugh multiple times when I saw a name that was just too ridiculous to be true. A few times, I silently wondered what motivates parents to name their kids totally weird names. I wondered if they had been bullied in school for their names. How would you like to be named Fantasy Sunshine, or Prosperity?
One family had outsize expectations of its son, so they named him Aurangzeb (the real guy being an 18th-century Mughal Emperor). One guy had the surname of Gesundheit. One had the given name of “Science” but he was a bit too old to tell his parents to “Listen to the Science!” I verified the signatures of five people I know, one of whom is my doctor! The other four were current or former employees at my old job, which made me smile.
Finally, I came to some conclusions regarding ballot-signing, which might benefit those of you who have not yet voted. First, sign your ballots in cursive! Do not print your name on your ballot, sign it. I saw dozens of printed ballot signatures, many of which were challenged because the printed ballot did not match the cursive voter record. If you want to make sure your ballot is not rejected due to signature not matching voter records, look at how you signed your driver’s license. Sign exactly that way.
Next, try to make your signature readable. A “squiggle” signature not only cannot be read but is pretty easy to forge. I saw dozens of those. The easier your signature is to forge, the more likely it will be that someone will use it to cast an illegal vote, thus depriving you of your vote. And, lastly, sign your full name on your driver’s license and on your ballot. Many names are remarkably similar, and you want the verifier to instantly know that you are who you say you are.
I go back tomorrow, a half-hour earlier than today. Our county predicts a 90 percent turnout for this election, and they might be close to that. I predict that I will be putting in a fair number of hours before all the ballots are counted. It is a very interesting job, and I am definitely going to ask to be called for all subsequent elections. You retirees out there, it’s a great way to make some money doing a vital job, and you can keep an eye on how things are done, where it counts!Published in