Thursday, November 02, 2006

Poll Watching

Well, I've signed up to be a poll watcher here in Maryland. I've had my orientation tonight. This is my first time doing anything like this, so this is a very new experience. I'll try and record what happens as I experience it.

Now here in Maryland the Diebold machines are ubiquitous, so I'll get first hand experience with the whole Diebold phenomenon. So far I've only voted on them. I'll have to be at the voting location before 6:30 to see the machines get set up and be there until after the polls close to make sure that all the votes are properly collected and sent in to the county board of elections. The role of the poll watcher is to be a free representative of, in my case, the Democratic party, to make sure that all is done according to the rules.

One thing that we will be doing to help the process is to collect voting tallies at several points during the day and sending them in, by phone, to an automatic collection system. This way a record of the voting totals is being kept throughout the day. One sign of the times thought is that the number we will call in to will not be given to us until election day. This is to prevent phone jamming.

One other thing of note is that we were definitely directed to not do anything to interfere with people voting. There was an article in the Washington Post today on a booklet that the Republicans have produced on how to harass voters. At the Democratic orientation I attended it was made clear that we were only there to assist voters and insure the integrity of the process.

Well I'm looking forward to seeing how it all goes. I'll report more as the election proceeds.

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