Friday, October 29, 2010

I fear for our country

SH worries about the voters. I worry about the poll workers.

I went to poll worker training last night. One woman asked questions that got stupider and stupider, to the point that I thought the city clerk would finally say, "You are too dumb to vote, much less work at the voting place." Alas, that did not happen.

Her first question was the scariest. Seriously? You have been a poll worker before (she did not stay for the new poll worker training, which followed the general meeting of all poll workers) and you did not know the answer to this question?

Stupid woman [as clerk is explaining how to register voters - we have same-day registration in Wisconsin]: How do I register someone who's Albanian?

Clerk: What?

SW: You know - with a visa?

Clerk: You mean someone who is not a US citizen?

SW: Yes. [Heads around the room swivel to look at the stupid woman.]

Clerk [with far more patience than I would have had]: Non-US citizens can't vote.

SW: Oh!

In case the previous scenario wasn't clear, the woman was asking how to register people who are not US citizens to vote. As in, she thought that this would be an issue she would face and wanted to know how to solve it. As in, had she not asked the question and just assumed how to do things, she would have gladly registered any foreign national with a Wisconsin driver's license who was willing to perjure herself on the registration form.

On to her even stupider questions.

SW [after the clerk just explained what to do with someone whose name has changed since she last registered, such as someone who has married]: What do we do if someone has married and there has been a name change, not that there should be?

Because a meeting with 150 poll workers is the best place to discuss whether women should change their names upon marrying?

SW [as the clerk is telling us we need to check the felon list for the registering voter's name because of course felons can't vote]: Can sex offenders vote?

Clerk [after a long pause during which she was undoubtedly thinking, "Am I speaking Polish and don't know it? Has every word I said not been understood by these English-speaking people?"]: If the person is on the felon list, he can't vote. If he is not on the felon list, he can vote.

SW: Last year I was ill and didn't get my taxes in.

Clerk: What?

SW: I filed my taxes late.

Clerk [longer pause as she considered proposing an "must be smarter than a fencepost" requirement for voting]: That has nothing to do with voting.


MrScribbler said...

There seem to be lots of places in the U.S. where being able to fog a mirror is the sole requirement for voting (and some places where that isn't necessary, too).

When I worked the polls in CA we were not allowed to check ID...if the name was on the list, someone who said that was their name could vote.

Class factotum said...

Mr S, I am not so worried about voters showing ID when they vote as long as the registration process is good. That is, as long as the names on the poll list are valid voters, then I don't care if they have to show ID at the polls.

But if one person can register multiple times and then vote without ID, that's a problem.

John0 Juanderlust said...

You just posted this because you wanted a scary story to put up for Halloween

TosaGuy said...

I have been a poll worker in the past, but since I am in SC for a few months I could not do it this year. There are indeed some characters who facilitate our democracy.

Class factotum said...

JohnO, it is a bit scary, isn't it?

TG, maybe I'll see you at Roosevelt next time.