Heated Election

On the hottest day of the summer, we had our primary election. The heat reduced the numbers of voters who were willing to venture out to vote. However, the campaigners with their literature, etc., were out … staying the required 25 feet from the door to the poll. You had to feel sorry for them, standing out there when the temperature was 102 with a heat index of 108.

The poll workers were working in slightly cooler temperatures. The poll was set up in the gym of a local intermediate school. The air conditioning in the school was broken. Even if it had been working, it wouldn’t have been of much benefit to us because the gym isn’t air conditioned.

We used every fan we could find. This helped keep the temperature in the gym bearable but sweat was an accessory worn by almost everyone. The school principal offered bottles of cold water which we took advantage of. The floating poll workers who come to check equipment, etc., brought cold bottled water to us. So we managed and wisely stayed hydrated although along with the high temps, we had lots of humidity. In fact, when we were closing the polls, the ballots were affected by the humidity to the point that they couldn’t be “joggled” into neat stacks before being placed in the “voted ballots” box.

This was my first experience as a supervisory judge. I’m  not sure I want to do this again. We were to have eight judges — but two of them strolled in over an hour late. That’s one way to get out of doing set-up.  There seemed to be some animosity between the judges of the two political parties. Two judges were new. One sort of pouted all day. Her attitude wasn’t great and I doubt she’ll want to do this job again. The other one bent my ear about the animosity she felt from the judges from the other party, why she didn’t get an hour off for lunch, what would happen if she decided to go home, why didn’t the county schedule two shifts of poll workers so we wouldn’t have to work such a long day, etc.

It was a great relief to get in my car, crank up the air conditioning and head to the county seat with the materials we needed to turn in to the County Clerk’s office. The other supervisory judge was an interesting conversationalist (once in the car). She told me how she has no income because the company she had worked for sold her job to Brazil. She barters gardening and other skills. All her clothes are second-hand. Even with such a life which most of us would think is very deprived, she spends a lot of time volunteering with almost every cultural group in the area.

The long day which began at 4:00 a.m. finally was over about 9:30 p.m. Yesterday I decided that working the election leaves you feeling slightly jetlagged.

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