This time four years ago, I was all too familiar with waking up at unreasonable hours.
My usual shift began between 7:15 and 7:30am, with the route for Coronado starting at 6:18. My alarm was always set for 5, though weeks of being physically drained had taken its toll and I now woke up at 4am after falling asleep around 7 or 8pm.
For the first part of last year, I’d often be awake at 6 to catch the bus to catch the train to make my shift at 8:30am. There was one day where I worked a 13.5 hour shift, standing.
Still, none of my shifts ever started before 7am - until yesterday, when I worked the earliest and longest shift of my life. (Thankfully, I sat for this one.)
The day commenced when my alarm rang at 5. By 5:30, I was out the door for the 15 minute walk to the downtown county building. I entered the room and sat down by my phone and computer, as I had the previous day.
Shortly after 6, the calls started coming.
15 hours later, our shifts ended and we logged out of our phones. There were goodbyes among a group of people that became quite familiar with each other after only two days.
A group of about ten people from two different temp agencies that were finally able to rest their voices after surviving the 6am-9:30pm vocal shift during the Election of 2018.
Having spent the last two days taking too many calls to count about voting, here’s some things I’d like you to remember during the next election:
check you’re registered before election day.
Every state has a different registration day. A woman new to the area from New Hampshire called in to register on the day of, because she said they could do that in NH. Some just called to register, period. Many believed they were registered after checking the box on their licenses. Registering at the DMV does not automatically mean you are registered to vote. Also, everyone knows technology can be a pain. If you register online, always check to make sure it went through. If registering by mail, do it well in advance. You never know with the postal system.
yes, you have to register with your new address.
Always, always check your polling place in advance. If you want the poll closest to you, you’re going to have to re-register with your new address. And never take the DMV’s word that you’re already registered to vote.
no, you can’t vote just anywhere.
It sucks that your truck broke down two days before election in South Carolina, it really does. But you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania, it is too late for you to vote absentee and no, you cannot just pop into an SC poll and call it a day.
you can vote in generals.
Pennsylvania has what they call a closed primary, meaning that anyone who is registered as anything other than Democrat or Republican cannot vote in the May primaries. However, contrary to popular belief, Independents, Libertarians, Greens, Prohibitionists, the Tea Party, Victorianists, Champagnists, etc. can vote in the November generals.
Some states are closed; others are not.
CANCEL YOUR REGISTRATION.
Did you know that if you move from one state to another, you should technically cancel your registration in your previous state? That would’ve been a nice thing to learn in gov or poli-sci.
Voting registration is automatically cancelled after five missed election years, or missing two federal elections.
check the supplemental.
Poll workers, if you can’t find an elector in your poll book, please do us a favor and check your supplemental.
Also, if someone has two or three last names like Jesus Angel Rivera Torres, make sure to look under all three of those last names before assuming the elector isn’t in the book. With hyphenated last names, check both.
it’s not a conspiracy.
Poll workers feeding in ballots does not equal a third world system. Perhaps you should visit an actual third world country and try to vote there. That poll worker who put your ballot in the machine probably didn’t read it. It’s not the end of the world if you have to vote by paper ballot. The system isn’t falling apart if you have to vote electronically. Maybe poll workers are just trying to ensure they don’t run out of ballots before the end of the night.
always know your polling location.
Don’t be that person still registered in Harrisburg who has twenty minutes to make it to the polls because they tried to go to one in Lancaster. And always, always check to make sure the address registration has on file is the address where you currently reside - especially if you are a) a college student, b) recently graduated, c) recently moved or d) don’t want to vote provisionally.
register in your state.
Registering in one state does not make you registered in another. If you actually want to vote on Election Day, ensure you can vote in the state you reside.
no need to bring your registration card.
Unless voting for the first time or your state demands it, yes, you can vote without your registration card. Government ID’s are typically only required for first timers. If someone insists on seeing everyone’s ID at a certain polling place in the state of Pennsylvania, that’s an issue. Other states may have different rules.
And while it would be lovely to extend voting hours for the people doing the voting, I’m fairly certain the employees sifting through MBB’s at the warehouse until midnight or the phone reps on the cusp of laryngitis the next day would disagree.
A p r i l D a w n
Aspiring journalist who also longs to write novels whilst hopping aboard the T.A.R.D.I.S. You may have seen my writing in the Cork Independent.
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