Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dispatch from the Election Worker: Day One of Real Work

 

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 Elections
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  1. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RushBabe49: I silently wondered what motivates parents to name their kids totally weird names.

    Hippie grandparent.

    • #1
    • October 22, 2020, at 9:22 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    RushBabe49: 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.

    I’ve always thought that a signature had to be in cursive. Though now that I think about it, as Heinlein said, the government can’t require you to be able to write.

    • #2
    • October 22, 2020, at 9:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    RushBabe49: 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.

    I’ve always thought that a signature had to be in cursive.

    Today’s kids are not being taught cursive in school anymore, since they mostly use computers to type assignments. But that doesn’t mean they should not be taught to sign their names. Not all the printed signatures were youngsters.

    • #3
    • October 22, 2020, at 9:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. kedavis Member

    After over 45 years of computer programming etc, I barely “write” anything any more, really just my signature. You don’t “write” anything for coding etc (REAL coding, I don’t mean like inputting code numbers for medical diagnostics etc.) if you want to be clearly understood. You PRINT. And you do it clearly, and in certain circumstances you put a / through a 0 (zero), maybe a line through a 7… 1 (one) is written “with serif” so it doesn’t get confused with i or l (ell) in some fonts…

    • #4
    • October 22, 2020, at 9:39 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Randy Webster Member

    I quit printing and went back to cursive when I got to the point I couldn’t read my printing anymore.

    • #5
    • October 22, 2020, at 9:43 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    After over 45 years of computer programming etc, I barely “write” anything any more, really just my signature. You don’t “write” anything for coding etc (REAL coding, I don’t mean like inputting code numbers for medical diagnostics etc.) if you want to be clearly understood. You PRINT. And you do it clearly, and in certain circumstances you put a / through a 0 (zero), maybe a line through a 7… 1 (one) is written “with serif” so it doesn’t get confused with i or l (ell) in some fonts…

    You don’t keep a notebook? Cursive for text, printing for code.

    Of course, more and more my notes are kept on a computer. OneNote mostly. Different fonts and colors for different purposes. Younger folks probably go straight there.

    • #6
    • October 22, 2020, at 9:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    I am keeping a little notebook to write down those unusual names I come across on the job. It is a freebie from WheelTug. 

    • #7
    • October 22, 2020, at 10:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. kedavis Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    After over 45 years of computer programming etc, I barely “write” anything any more, really just my signature. You don’t “write” anything for coding etc (REAL coding, I don’t mean like inputting code numbers for medical diagnostics etc.) if you want to be clearly understood. You PRINT. And you do it clearly, and in certain circumstances you put a / through a 0 (zero), maybe a line through a 7… 1 (one) is written “with serif” so it doesn’t get confused with i or l (ell) in some fonts…

    You don’t keep a notebook? Cursive for text, printing for code.

    Of course, more and more my notes are kept on a computer. OneNote mostly. Different fonts and colors for different purposes. Younger folks probably go straight there.

    I rarely need to make notes of anything, but like for shopping lists etc, I print.

    • #8
    • October 22, 2020, at 10:14 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. FitzpatrickJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I just checked online. Looks like my signature was accepted. Trump will have one more vote out of San Francisco. 

    • #9
    • October 22, 2020, at 10:52 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. kedavis Member

    I early-voted on Monday, in person, and there was no waiting at all. But this is a fairly small county. In 2016 this county went for Trump by over 75%, which is one reason I was happy to move here, and I expect it’ll be higher this time.

     

    • #10
    • October 22, 2020, at 10:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. tigerlily Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    RushBabe49: 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.

    I’ve always thought that a signature had to be in cursive. Though now that I think about it, as Heinlein said, the government can’t require you to be able to write.

    I’m pretty sure if someone “making their mark” counts, then printing your name would count as well.

    • #11
    • October 23, 2020, at 3:32 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. MarciN Member

    I’ve been wondering about these mail-in voting rules. Thank you for this informative post. So there will be a permanent record of a person’s vote to be used against him or her in the new cancel culture.

    I’ve never signed a ballot. Doing so is exactly opposite of “secret” voting, which is important for our electoral system’s survival. This new voting system is extremely dangerous for our country for a lot of reasons.

    I can’t believe people are going along with this. Anyone who lives in a blue state who supports the president would know instantly why signed ballots are dangerous.

    In Massachusetts, nearly 50 percent of registered voters are registered as independents. Voters can register as Democrats or Republicans the day of the primaries and then on their way out the door, restore their independent status. So there is no permanent record of which party independent voters are aligned with.

    Are you notifying voters whose signatures are being disqualified? Probably not.

    • #12
    • October 23, 2020, at 5:36 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. Stad Thatcher

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    Today’s kids are not being taught cursive in school anymore, since they mostly use computers to type assignments.

    This is a disgrace. Using the same logic, one could argue calculators alleviate the need to learn the math tables . . .

    • #13
    • October 23, 2020, at 5:46 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I’ve been wondering about this mail-in voting rules. Thank you for this informative post. So there will be a permanent record of a person’s vote to be used against him or her in the new cancel culture.

    I’ve never signed a ballot. Doing so is exactly opposite of “secret” voting, which is important for our electoral system’s survival. This new voting system is extremely dangerous for our country for a lot of reasons.

    I can’t believe people are going along with this. Anyone who lives in a blue state who supports the president would know instantly why signed ballots are dangerous.

    In Massachusetts, nearly 50 percent of registered voters are registered as independents. Voters can register as Democrats or Republicans the day of the primaries and then on their way out the door, restore their independent status. So there is no permanent record of which party independent voters are aligned with.

    Are you notifying voters whose signatures are being disqualified? Probably not.

    My apologies,Marci, if I did not make it clear that the voter signs the ballot envelope and not the ballot itself. The envelopes are scanned, and we verify the signatures on the envelope. Challenged signatures are kept aside, and the voter is notified that there is a problem with their signature. Once notified the voter can come in person to clear up the issue. Our state does not register voters by party either so there is no way to know what their party is. We know of some actual forgeries, so it is very important to make your signature legible. I am not sure when the ballots are removed from the envelopes for counting, but I will ask today. 

    • #14
    • October 23, 2020, at 7:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Maguffin Member

    The most important question is did you have to reject your doctor’s? Come on, NO ONE can read their signatures, no matter what kind of training you got!

    • #15
    • October 23, 2020, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    Maguffin (View Comment):

    The most important question is did you have to reject your doctor’s? Come on, NO ONE can read their signatures, no matter what kind of training you got!

    My doc has always had very legible writing. Bad doctor handwriting is less of a problem now with most chart notes entered by computer. If the pharmacy cannot read the signature they call the doctor right away. 

    • #16
    • October 23, 2020, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. MarciN Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I’ve been wondering about this mail-in voting rules. Thank you for this informative post. So there will be a permanent record of a person’s vote to be used against him or her in the new cancel culture.

    I’ve never signed a ballot. Doing so is exactly opposite of “secret” voting, which is important for our electoral system’s survival. This new voting system is extremely dangerous for our country for a lot of reasons.

    I can’t believe people are going along with this. Anyone who lives in a blue state who supports the president would know instantly why signed ballots are dangerous.

    In Massachusetts, nearly 50 percent of registered voters are registered as independents. Voters can register as Democrats or Republicans the day of the primaries and then on their way out the door, restore their independent status. So there is no permanent record of which party independent voters are aligned with.

    Are you notifying voters whose signatures are being disqualified? Probably not.

    My apologies,Marci, if I did not make it clear that the voter signs the ballot envelope and not the ballot itself. The envelopes are scanned, and we verify the signatures on the envelope. Challenged signatures are kept aside, and the voter is notified that there is a problem with their signature. Once notified the voter can come in person to clear up the issue. Our state does not register voters by party either so there is no way to know what their party is. We know of some actual forgeries, so it is very important to make your signature legible. I am not sure when the ballots are removed from the envelopes for counting, but I will ask today.

    I am so relieved to read this. Thank you. The very idea of signed ballots was giving me a headache today. Thank you for writing back. :-) 

    • #17
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:03 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. kedavis Member

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    RushBabe49: 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.

    I’ve always thought that a signature had to be in cursive. Though now that I think about it, as Heinlein said, the government can’t require you to be able to write.

    I’m pretty sure if someone “making their mark” counts, then printing your name would count as well.

    As long as you print on the registration AND the ballot, it shouldn’t be an issue. The problem arises when it’s not the same in both places.

    • #18
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. kedavis Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    Today’s kids are not being taught cursive in school anymore, since they mostly use computers to type assignments.

    This is a disgrace. Using the same logic, one could argue calculators alleviate the need to learn the math tables . . .

    Maybe you were being facetious or something, because I don’t think they are learning them any more.

    • #19
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:38 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Fritz Coolidge

    When I checked online yesterday, my ballot had been received, but not yet verified.

    This morning I checked, and my signature has been verified.

    Probably by @rushbabe49 herself!

    Thanks for the update!!

    • #20
    • October 23, 2020, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    Fritz (View Comment):

    When I checked online yesterday, my ballot had been received, but not yet verified.

    This morning I checked, and my signature has been verified.

    Probably by @rushbabe49 herself!

    Thanks for the update!!

    Do you live in Snohomish County? If not, then probably not. We have received about 143,000 ballots so far. 

    • #21
    • October 23, 2020, at 10:18 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. PHCheese Member

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today at the request of the pinko governor said countries could ignore trying to match signatures.

    • #22
    • October 23, 2020, at 12:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. JustmeinAZ Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today at the request of the pinko governor said countries could ignore trying to match signatures.

    Unbelievable! You mean counties?

    • #23
    • October 23, 2020, at 12:38 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Randy Webster Member

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today at the request of the pinko governor said countries could ignore trying to match signatures.

    Unbelievable! You mean counties?

    What’s unbelievable? It already said mail in ballots can be counted up to three days after election day, and without postmarks.

    • #24
    • October 23, 2020, at 12:55 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. kedavis Member

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today at the request of the pinko governor said countries could ignore trying to match signatures.

    Unbelievable! You mean counties?

    Or maybe the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided that other countries get to vote in Pennsylvania elections…

    • #25
    • October 23, 2020, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Randy Webster Member

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Or maybe the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided that other countries get to vote in Pennsylvania elections…

    They wouldn’t be the first to have espoused that position.

    • #26
    • October 23, 2020, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. kedavis Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Or maybe the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided that other countries get to vote in Pennsylvania elections…

    They wouldn’t be the first to have espoused that position.

    Of course not. And since we know other countries are so much smarter than us, why shouldn’t they decide how we live?

    • #27
    • October 23, 2020, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Eleanor Member

    Thanks for doing this work! It is so important.

    • #28
    • October 23, 2020, at 1:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Full Size Tabby Member

    My signature using my finger on the electronic tablets my county uses for in-person voting looks rather different from my signature made with a pen on a piece of paper. Come to think of it though, I suspect an electronic tablet was probably used to capture my signature when I first got my driver’s license two years ago. 

    A few years ago I was signing a hundred or more [paper] invoice approvals per week in my job. My signature took quite an evolution during that time. I have heard from book authors that their signature at book signings might be different from their signature on other objects.

    • #29
    • October 23, 2020, at 1:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Fritz Coolidge

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Fritz (View Comment):

    When I checked online yesterday, my ballot had been received, but not yet verified.

    This morning I checked, and my signature has been verified.

    Probably by @rushbabe49 herself!

    Thanks for the update!!

    Do you live in Snohomish County? If not, then probably not. We have received about 143,000 ballots so far.

    No, East King County. Last Monday afternoon, I counted eight different individuals walk up to place their envelopes in the drop box (never seen anyone else using it before) as I approached to drop in mine. Will be interesting to see if the predicted 90% turnout comes anywhere close.

     

    • #30
    • October 23, 2020, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like