Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Experience as a Poll Watcher in a Philly Suburb – Quintessentially American

 

My wife and I had the honor and pleasure on Election Day as serving as poll watchers at our local precinct (Edgmont Township, 1st Precinct, Delaware County, PA). I’m happy to share our experience.

We took the last shift, 5-8 p.m., and stayed around to watch the process after the polls closed.

We obtained our poll watcher certificates from one of our local Township supervisors and presented them to the judge of elections. She showed us where to sit – right next to her and 2 other election officials who were processing voters, behind plexiglass shields. It was busy, as it had been all day – waits were up to 2.5 hours early in the a.m. It slowed down by 6 p.m., with over 850 people voting in person – very high. And that doesn’t include the early and mail-in or drop-box voters (like me).

It was a wonderful, community experience. We caught up with neighbors. Nearly everyone voluntarily offered their drivers’ licenses for ID. Everyone wore masks. Everyone was respectful, obedient, and seemed genuinely happy to be there. No agitation, no anger.

No Sharpies were available – only black pens, as prescribed by state election procedures. Paper ballots. Polls workers patiently and carefully explaining the procedures, including specifically how to fill in the boxes for those candidates they supported. Those who either weren’t on the rolls or were recorded as having requested a mail ballot were immediately offered a provisional ballot. All took them – about 40 in all.

After casting their ballots, every voter walked to one of two machines (with a third available) to run their ballots through a scanner. When the scanner rejected it, a poll worker explained why. Often, it was because they failed, or refused, to cast a ballot for one of the offices. They were offered the chance to vote or to allow the poll worker to override the machine and count the rest of their ballot. In every case I saw, the voter chose to complete their ballot.

There was one instance where someone unintentionally spoiled their ballot. They were immediately offered a new one. Some brought in their mail ballots, mostly unopened. they were asked to open them to remove the ballots to be disqualified, so they could cast a vote in person, following the law precisely.

Everyone was civil, friendly, and genuinely happy to be there. People enjoyed the process. Everyone was happy.

When things ended, we watched the elaborate, detailed, and frankly complicated process of packaging all the ballots. Republicans carried my precinct, on Election Day, by a better than 3:1 margin, uniformly, from President to State Representative. I knew right there that this was a truly nationalized election, and that Republicans largely showed up in person.

This is the way I have always experienced and envisioned elections. Voting on one day, in person, next to neighbors and friends. Election Day is special. I immediately regretted my early and previous votes by mail (I often had no choice, due to travel and work).

This is why I hate vote by mail, the potential for fraud aside. It is a genuine community event, people coming together to cast ballots. No one judging each other. An obvious Biden-Harris supporter (she illegally wore a button into the voting area) dropped by to ask a procedural question. I was happy to answer it. She left, after thanking me. America as it should be.

I have no idea what the politics of our election judge was, nor our poll workers. I don’t care. They followed the rules scrupulously. They gave me faith in the process. I know our township handled this well, and trust the results. For a short while, my faith in America was restored. The process, at least here, worked. Open, transparent, and trustworthy.

Seems to me that parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and certainly Philadelphia have a lot to learn from my township.

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  1. kedavis Member

    Indications so far are that the vote fraud in PA generally and perhaps Phill. in particular, is more centralized.

    • #1
    • November 5, 2020, at 7:40 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Bucknelldad Coolidge
    Bucknelldad

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Indications so far are that the vote fraud in PA generally and perhaps Phill. in particular, is more centralized.

    Philly has a long and sordid (and well deserved) reputation and history for voter fraud. Remember that a former US Rep., Michael “Ozzie” Myers (Democrat of course) was indicted just months ago for ballot stuffing. The same US Rep. who had to resign and was convicted in the Abscam scandal. You can look it up. 

    Parts of Philly is notorious for kicking out GOP poll watchers. While those poll watchers wait for judges to slooooowly order them back in, corrupt precinct officials cast ballots for local voters who are unlikely to show up. It explains, time after time, why there are nearly 100% turnouts in precincts with 0 votes for Republicans. And don’t get me started on dead voters. Hundreds of them vote, too. Local media has presented plenty of evidence. To no effect.

    Philadelphia is corrupt, top to bottom. It is a bad city.

    • #2
    • November 5, 2020, at 7:57 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  3. kedavis Member

    Sounds like exactly the kind of thing the Supreme Court should come down on. Declare the vote for federal purposes, at least, to be invalid; and require a re-vote. And keep re-voting until they do it right.

    • #3
    • November 5, 2020, at 8:04 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sounds like exactly the kind of thing the Supreme Court should come down on. Declare the vote for federal purposes, at least, to be invalid; and require a re-vote. And keep re-voting until they do it right.

    I doubt it’s the provenance of the Supreme Court. Aren’t states responsible for ensuring the integrity of an election? 

    • #4
    • November 5, 2020, at 9:46 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Flicker Coolidge

    J. D. Fitzpatrick (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sounds like exactly the kind of thing the Supreme Court should come down on. Declare the vote for federal purposes, at least, to be invalid; and require a re-vote. And keep re-voting until they do it right.

    I doubt it’s the provenance of the Supreme Court. Aren’t states responsible for ensuring the integrity of an election?

    Does the Constitution have any process for dealing with outright state-sponsored election fraud?

    • #5
    • November 5, 2020, at 11:28 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    J. D. Fitzpatrick (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sounds like exactly the kind of thing the Supreme Court should come down on. Declare the vote for federal purposes, at least, to be invalid; and require a re-vote. And keep re-voting until they do it right.

    I doubt it’s the provenance of the Supreme Court. Aren’t states responsible for ensuring the integrity of an election?

    Does the Constitution have any process for dealing with outright state-sponsored election fraud?

    Maybe. See my other thread.

    https://ricochet.com/821041/thoughts-about-state-legislatures-appointing-trump-electors/#comment-4973102

     

    • #6
    • November 6, 2020, at 1:02 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Indications so far are that the vote fraud in PA generally and perhaps Phill. in particular, is more centralized.

    Derhwtiz is over on Newsmax (newsmax.com) stating that the Trump has a good shot at a lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

    “Pennsylvania is the strongest place for President Trump to be able to bring the lawsuit because he has a pure constitutional issue there. What happened is the judiciary extended the time for accepting ballots, mail-in ballots, by three days beyond what the legislature did,” Dershowitz told Thursday’s “Greg Kelly Reports.”

    https://www.newsmax.com/politics/alandershowitz-lawsuit-pennsylvania-trump/2020/11/05/id/995663/

    • #7
    • November 6, 2020, at 1:36 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Ekosj Member

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It highlights the major differences between in-person and Mail-In voting. Ballot security begins before the voter checks in. Poll watchers are a crucial component. At voter check in, at least some level of ID verification takes place, even if it’s only signature verification. And every check in is witnessed by two poll workers. Plus the watchers. The one voter one ballot principle is assured. Because the security is tight at the front of the process – and is visible to the voters – elections have been secure. And the results have been accepted. (Ok – except by the “Not my President“ crowd) To run a scam in an in-person environment requires the participation of several people from different Parties. Even if successful, it would be confined to a particular polling place.

    Mail-In ballots have none of that up-front ballot security. Ballots arrive by the box-load at large, centralised processing facilities. There is almost no way for a limited number or poll watchers to scrutinise that process. Workers are not in pairs, and in that high volume environment there is limited ability to verify the propriety of individual ballots. Any challenge to a ballot HAS to take place before the ballot envelope is opened and separated from the envelope. Recall, the ballot itself is anonymous. The identifying information is on the envelope. Once the ballot is physically separated from the envelope, there is literally no way to separate the sheep from the goats. So even it it were possible to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots were introduced into the system, once they are in, there no way to separate them out again.

    And this is where I think the GOP Failed Trump. The time for lawyers and lawsuits was BEFORE the counting started. The lawsuits AFTER the ballots are opened are just for show. Even if you win the case, it’s likely there isn’t any viable remedy available by that point. Which, I suppose, is typical for the GOP. They are all hat- no cattle … masters of the useless spectacle.

    • #8
    • November 6, 2020, at 3:01 AM PST
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. Blondie Thatcher

    You just reenforced what Rush has been saying since Wednesday. Why is it that the only issues seem to be in democrat lead strongholds? Your precinct sounds like mine. It just proves the process isn’t hard to follow, if you want to. 

    • #9
    • November 6, 2020, at 4:32 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Ralphie Member

    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Indications so far are that the vote fraud in PA generally and perhaps Phill. in particular, is more centralized.

    Derhwtiz is over on Newsmax (newsmax.com) stating that the Trump has a good shot at a lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

    “Pennsylvania is the strongest place for President Trump to be able to bring the lawsuit because he has a pure constitutional issue there. What happened is the judiciary extended the time for accepting ballots, mail-in ballots, by three days beyond what the legislature did,” Dershowitz told Thursday’s “Greg Kelly Reports.”

    https://www.newsmax.com/politics/alandershowitz-lawsuit-pennsylvania-trump/2020/11/05/id/995663/

    That’s my understanding. The court seemed to side with shut downs the legislators imposed and reject those that governors did. The representation of the people is what matters, not an executive. Also I think it can be ordered to be settled in the House. Jefferson and JQ Adams were decided that way. Rs have 26 votes to D 24.

    • #10
    • November 6, 2020, at 9:52 AM PST
    • Like
  11. MichaelKennedy Inactive

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It highlights the major differences between in-person and Mail-In voting. Ballot security begins before the voter checks in. Poll watchers are a crucial component. At voter check in, at least some level of ID verification takes place, even if it’s only signature verification. And every check in is witnessed by two poll workers. Plus the watchers. The one voter one ballot principle is assured. Because the security is tight at the front of the process – and is visible to the voters – elections have been secure. And the results have been accepted. (Ok – except by the “Not my President“ crowd) To run a scam in an in-person environment requires the participation of several people from different Parties. Even if successful, it would be confined to a particular polling place.

    Mail-In ballots have none of that up-front ballot security. Ballots arrive by the box-load at large, centralised processing facilities. There is almost no way for a limited number or poll watchers to scrutinise that process. Workers are not in pairs, and in that high volume environment there is limited ability to verify the propriety of individual ballots. Any challenge to a ballot HAS to take place before the ballot envelope is opened and separated from the envelope. Recall, the ballot itself is anonymous. The identifying information is on the envelope. Once the ballot is physically separated from the envelope, there is literally no way to separate the sheep from the goats. So even it it were possible to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots were introduced into the system, once they are in, there no way to separate them out again.

    And this is where I think the GOP Failed Trump. The time for lawyers and lawsuits was BEFORE the counting started. The lawsuits AFTER the ballots are opened are just for show. Even if you win the case, it’s likely there isn’t any viable remedy available by that point. Which, I suppose, is typical for the GOP. They are all hat- no cattle … masters of the useless spectacle.

    See this account. https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-disastrous-2020-election-will-never-be-resolved_3568355.html

     

    • #11
    • November 6, 2020, at 11:07 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. kedavis Member

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    And this is where I think the GOP Failed Trump. The time for lawyers and lawsuits was BEFORE the counting started. The lawsuits AFTER the ballots are opened are just for show. Even if you win the case, it’s likely there isn’t any viable remedy available by that point. Which, I suppose, is typical for the GOP. They are all hat- no cattle … masters of the useless spectacle.

    I don’t see a problem with just tossing the whole vote count of those areas with issues of fraud. The individual ballots don’t need to be singled out and un-counted.

    The majority of votes in the precincts/whatever that haven’t been found to be tainted, is what counts.

    Which means that when the Dems corrupt the vote in their big stronghold cities etc, ALL of the ballots for that whole city, get tossed.

    It’s like the “fruit of the poisoned tree” argument in law.

    • #12
    • November 6, 2020, at 11:11 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Dbroussa Coolidge

    I work as a Judge in Texas and my Vote Center was similar to yours. People were happy to be there. They understood the lines, the lengthy process and we had only a couple of incidents. Both involved people asking where there was a box with an R underneath it at the top of their ballot and not accepting the explanation that it was mark provisional ballots and as long as the box was empty their ballot was a normal one. We voted about 680 people with an additional 80 provisional ballots. I know that the vast majority f the provisional ballots will not count because the person wasn’t registered, or missed the deadline, but I was happy to spend the 10 minutes per ballot to vote them. They weren’t turned away, they were motivated to show up, to stand in line, and they got to vote. The best part is now they are registered going forward. My Vote Center in early voting voted 10,000 people out of the county total of 60,000 early votes and 77K total votes for the county. We had amazing turnout at 69.47% up significantly from 2016 (62.3%). Things went smoothly and while I am not happy that Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez lost in CD-15, she lost by 6,500 votes out of well over 120K and was the closest a Republican has come to winning CD-15 in its entire history.

     

    • #13
    • November 6, 2020, at 11:31 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. kedavis Member

    Dbroussa (View Comment):
    Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez

    Wow that’s almost as difficult as:

     

    • #14
    • November 6, 2020, at 11:49 AM PST
    • Like
  15. Ekosj Member

    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Indications so far are that the vote fraud in PA generally and perhaps Phill. in particular, is more centralized.

    Derhwtiz is over on Newsmax (newsmax.com) stating that the Trump has a good shot at a lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

    “Pennsylvania is the strongest place for President Trump to be able to bring the lawsuit because he has a pure constitutional issue there. What happened is the judiciary extended the time for accepting ballots, mail-in ballots, by three days beyond what the legislature did,” Dershowitz told Thursday’s “Greg Kelly Reports.”

    https://www.newsmax.com/politics/alandershowitz-lawsuit-pennsylvania-trump/2020/11/05/id/995663/

    There may be a constitutional issue. And The President might even win that case. But. Are those ballots sequestered somehow? Or have they now been opened and counted and are indistinguishable from the other hundreds of thousands of mail in ballots?

    • #15
    • November 6, 2020, at 1:54 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. kedavis Member

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Indications so far are that the vote fraud in PA generally and perhaps Phill. in particular, is more centralized.

    Derhwtiz is over on Newsmax (newsmax.com) stating that the Trump has a good shot at a lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

    “Pennsylvania is the strongest place for President Trump to be able to bring the lawsuit because he has a pure constitutional issue there. What happened is the judiciary extended the time for accepting ballots, mail-in ballots, by three days beyond what the legislature did,” Dershowitz told Thursday’s “Greg Kelly Reports.”

    https://www.newsmax.com/politics/alandershowitz-lawsuit-pennsylvania-trump/2020/11/05/id/995663/

    There may be a constitutional issue. And The President might even win that case. But. Are those ballots sequestered somehow? Or have they now been opened and counted and are indistinguishable from the other hundreds of thousands of mail in ballots?

    They’ve probably been “merged” at least to the precinct level. But that’s what leads to my suggestion that if those precincts or whatever are tainted, they should be disregarded in their entirety. Don’t let the Dims benefit from the “fruit of the poisoned election.”

    • #16
    • November 6, 2020, at 2:02 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Mark Camp Member

    Hoo boy! This one wasn’t just good. 

    It hit me hard, set off resonances in my spinal cord that had been acoustically insulated for years, as the common experience that once made us all Americans has seemingly been forgotten, and we chatter about rubbish, as if our society had never existed.

    • #17
    • November 6, 2020, at 5:45 PM PST
    • 1 like
  18. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    J. D. Fitzpatrick (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sounds like exactly the kind of thing the Supreme Court should come down on. Declare the vote for federal purposes, at least, to be invalid; and require a re-vote. And keep re-voting until they do it right.

    I doubt it’s the provenance of the Supreme Court. Aren’t states responsible for ensuring the integrity of an election?

    Does the Constitution have any process for dealing with outright state-sponsored election fraud?

    14 Amendment right to due process.

    • #18
    • November 7, 2020, at 12:09 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. David Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sounds like exactly the kind of thing the Supreme Court should come down on. Declare the vote for federal purposes, at least, to be invalid; and require a re-vote. And keep re-voting until they do it right.

    In Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, nobody has 50%. Most countries would do a run-off, why not us?

    • #19
    • November 8, 2020, at 9:39 PM PST
    • Like
  20. kedavis Member

    David (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sounds like exactly the kind of thing the Supreme Court should come down on. Declare the vote for federal purposes, at least, to be invalid; and require a re-vote. And keep re-voting until they do it right.

    In Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, nobody has 50%. Most countries would do a run-off, why not us?

    When several millions of people are involved, run-offs are a bit more complicated, and expensive.

    Although if the libertarian etc candidates were excluded, that might be a good start. Heck it might even keep them from wasting our time in the future.

    • #20
    • November 8, 2020, at 9:45 PM PST
    • Like
  21. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It highlights the major differences between in-person and Mail-In voting. Ballot security begins before the voter checks in. Poll watchers are a crucial component. At voter check in, at least some level of ID verification takes place, even if it’s only signature verification. And every check in is witnessed by two poll workers. Plus the watchers. The one voter one ballot principle is assured. Because the security is tight at the front of the process – and is visible to the voters – elections have been secure. And the results have been accepted. (Ok – except by the “Not my President“ crowd) To run a scam in an in-person environment requires the participation of several people from different Parties. Even if successful, it would be confined to a particular polling place.

    Mail-In ballots have none of that up-front ballot security. Ballots arrive by the box-load at large, centralised processing facilities. There is almost no way for a limited number or poll watchers to scrutinise that process. Workers are not in pairs, and in that high volume environment there is limited ability to verify the propriety of individual ballots. Any challenge to a ballot HAS to take place before the ballot envelope is opened and separated from the envelope. Recall, the ballot itself is anonymous. The identifying information is on the envelope. Once the ballot is physically separated from the envelope, there is literally no way to separate the sheep from the goats. So even it it were possible to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots were introduced into the system, once they are in, there no way to separate them out again.

    And this is where I think the GOP Failed Trump. The time for lawyers and lawsuits was BEFORE the counting started. The lawsuits AFTER the ballots are opened are just for show. Even if you win the case, it’s likely there isn’t any viable remedy available by that point. Which, I suppose, is typical for the GOP. They are all hat- no cattle … masters of the useless spectacle.

    The boldened paragraph is the absolute bottom line in this election. One could blame this on Trump himself, but he was POTUS as well as a candidate. He did have a few other things to do. However, there are plenty of savvy Republican politicians that could have gotten on their soapboxes and the RNC should have sued immediately when the “mail-in” became standard procedure. Everyone knows the Dems will cheat every chance they get.

    • #21
    • November 9, 2020, at 7:10 AM PST
    • 2 likes