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MunicipalI am an official United States election officer, and will be working at the upcoming presidential election this Tuesday. Ask Me Anything!

Nov 6th 2016 by Blucatt • 34 Questions • 347 Points

Hello all! I'm an election officer who worked at the primary elections, and am greatly anticipating working during this upcoming election for president of the United States.

You know those people who greet you when you walk into the polling place? Who gets your signature, calls out your name next to the voting machine, or directs you to where you need to go? I do all of that, and then some. Working at a polling place is a complex task and can be difficult, but at the end it's very rewarding!

Anyways, feel free to ask me any questions you may have! I'd love to see what kinds of questions you guys have.

My proof

Envelopes for my acceptance letter and my payment check from last time: http://imgur.com/CO1TC92

Acceptance letter from last time. Conveniently I was unable to find the one for this time: http://imgur.com/5NPBofC

The training manual/instruction booklets they give you during training courses: http://imgur.com/cd7o1Cb

edit: keep the questions coming, guys! I still have a lot to answer and i will get to them as soon as I can. I have to go to sleep now in order to wake up on time. I'll let you know when the cutoff point is!

edit 2: (Oct. 7, 2016, 7:08 PM GMT -4:00) well guys, it was nice answering your questions! I'm gonna answer the ones I have left and then that'll be it. I hope it was nice for you guys!

Q:

Can you vote?

A:

Are you asking if I'm legally allowed to vote or if I am still allowed to vote given my affiliation with the election process?


Q:

Latter

A:

Then yes. There are two possibilities: you are working at your designated polling place, or you aren't. In the first case, you would just get up at any point in the day that you could and vote like a regular person would (probably with the other officers jokingly greeting you at the door or showing you how to work the machines). In the second case, you'd have to vote by absentee ballot, which is a whole other process in itself.


Q:

Who do you think is going to win the election?

A:

Clinton. Although given what I saw with the Brexit vote earlier this year, I guess anything is possible. I'm mentally preparing for each outcome, but overall I think Clinton has the best shot.


Q:

As an official tasked with upholding election integrity, does it bother you about accusations or even evidence of collusion? If so what are the plans to prevent unfairness in the future primaries?

A:

Fraud is always a legitimate concern, so it doesn't bother me too much. Even so, people are taking major steps to make sure each election is fairer than the last. The department of elections is constantly updating rules and working in new laws, and they're doing a magnificent job of making each election run as smoothly as possible.


Q:

Do you have any tips for redditors voting for the first time?

A:

Come early. Avoid those annoying long lines or people shoving stickers or pamphlets in your face. And don't come too late, either. Yes, we will send you away if you show up at 8:01.

Also, we are always happy to help first timers, to show them the ropes. In fact, every time a first time voter comes in, we say "first time voter!" And all the officers clap.


Q:

What do you expect the atmosphere at the ballots will be? Tense? Calm? Eerie?

A:

A mixture of all of those things. One thing is for certain: there is a LOT more pressure on me and the other officers than during the primaries. Unlike the primary elections, there's little margin for error, and there's a lot more that you have to watch our for. During the primaries you would rarely have lines, just a few people here and there with some buildup around midday, and there's little stress on each individual officer; we can even take breaks if we want to. But the general election is going to be completely different. We're expecting lines out the door, several attempts at electioneering/voter intimidation, and maybe even some media. I think "hectic" would be the best word to describe it.


Q:

What kind of area are you in? Since you are expecting such a mixed atmosphere.

A:

I live in Delaware, which is a notably purple state. I've seen gun toting rednecks wearing camo and confederate flag bumper stickers, and I've also seen female millennials with dyed armpit hair and 'Feel The Bern' t-shirts.


Q:

What are your thoughts of holding the election on Tuesday? If you could choose when would you have it?

A:

I'd most definitely have it on a Friday. Think about how I have it as an election officer. I already hate Mondays, and having to go to bed early to arrive at my polling place at around 7 a.m is even worse. Then, while everyone else gets the day off, I have to do my best to keep my eyelids open and perform all of my duties throughout the day. Then i finally get to head home at around 9 p.m, and since I have class the next day I either have to head straight to bed or face nodding off throughout the day. If we had it on a Friday, it'd be a 3-day weekend, I'd get to sleep in as I truly need, and it may lead to a higher turnout.


Q:

"Everyone gets the day off?" Is that a Delaware thing? I don't know a single person who gets the day off to vote, in CA or SC (where I live now and where I'm from).

A:

Wait...that's not a thing in other states? All students K-12 get the day off, and jobs often let you leave and come back.


Q:

What made you decide to be an election officer?

A:

Being a part of a significant part of American history is really appealing to me. The pay is a nice plus, too.


Q:

I always thought it was volunteers. What's the pay if you don't mind me asking?

A:

$50 for the training, $140 for the election day itself. So $190 total.


Q:

Have you ever heard of or witnessed anything along the lines minor or major election fraud from the people you work with or others who do the same job as you?

A:

Not at all, really. All the people I work with are kind, hard-working individuals, most are seniors who want to help out with the democratic process. I personally have never witnessed any misconduct amongst my coworkers.


Q:

One of the biggest issues I have with how elections are run is the plurality vote, or only being able to select 1 candidate. It's what allowed Gore to lose when Nader "stole" his votes. It's how Trump ended up the Republican nominee because his opposition split their vote between several similar candidates.

How would you feel about approval voting? Do you expect it would change your job at all?

A:

I've heard of that concept before, but I didn't know it actually had a name to it. Thanks for that information!

To answer your question, though, I think that would do us well, but being realistic I doubt that will happen any time soon. People in our country are afraid of progress, of change. It'll take some convincing along with some really strong advocacy. I don't think it's impossible, though.


Q:

Have there been any instructions related to Trumps call for election observers? My understanding is there are only two observers allowed at a polling place.

What can they do? How close can they get to me? If they're watching me vote and it makes me uncomfortable, are they required to leave? Just leave me alone?

I know some pretty hard core Trump supporters. What actions cross a line and are considered "intimidation?"

A:

They teach you about that every time, actually. Those people are called "challengers". Either a candidate or a party appoints a challenger to each polling place. These people have a special table at the back, where they can monitor what goes on throughout the day. If they have any suspicion of misconduct, within reason, they can intervene and then we have to go through the protocol.

One things for certain, though. We would NOT let anyone, even a certified challenger, berate, annoy or deter any voter in any way. Any qualms they might have are taken to us, not the voters. If we see them bothering voters, we would document it on the issues log and possibly call the Department of Elections.


Q:

I always thought this was a volunteer position. You are actually paid?

A:

Yep. $50 for each training session and $140 for each election day. I suppose it counts as volunteering, though. They don't ask anyone to go, it's always voluntary.


Q:

Can I bring a piece of paper that has all my votes listed? I did my research and figured everything on my ballot out, but I want to make sure I don't forget anything or anybody and check the wrong box. I swear I'm not senile, I'm just forgetful haha

A:

Sure, I don't see why not. Although one of the more finnicky officers might ask to see the paper to make sure there's nothing negative written on there, e.g. some sort of code to try to hack the machine. If you don't tell anyone about it, though, there's nothing they can really do, as you're entitled to complete privacy in the booth while voting.


Q:

I always receive a mail-in ballot weeks in advance. Why do so many people wait in line on election day?

A:

I'm not sure. I'd say it's easier, and it's seen as more efficient. Plus this is the way it's been done for a long time.


Q:

What is the process if someone turns up to try to disrupt things?

A:

It depends on what they do. Last time we had a couple of ranting trump supporters demanding that the wife be allowed to wear her "Hillary for prison" shirt. There's an 'issues log' and any disturbances are listed there. If it gets too loud or bad, we call the Department of Elections and they dispatch someone if needed.


Q:

Thanks for what you do!

How much information can you provide to the media? As in, can you supply information if they ask you how many voters have showed up today, which party has the best showing, any incidents, etc?

A:

We can give non partisan information (e.g. "How was the turnout today?" "How stressful was it today?") but nothing that would show biased toward any one political party (e.g. "Would you say there are more Democrats or Republicans today?" "What do you think about Mr. Trump's stance on the outcome of the election?").


A:

I wouldn't call it a bad idea, per se, but I do think we need some more options. Whenever there are electronics involved with anything, that leaves a lot of room for hacking and manipulation, more than ever before.


Q:

Thoughts on voting by mail?

A:

I think it's pretty unorthodox, but others seen to approve of it, so I'm nobody to judge.


Q:

due to how heated this election is are you guy's guarded by police this time around?ohIhopeheansewersnooneevernoticesmyIamaquestions.

A:

Never fear, I pledged that if I ever was interesting enough to do an AMA that I'd answer every question possible.

It certainly is a possibility. I sure hope so, because last time around the trump supporters got especially aggressive. I can only imagine how bad it'll be this time.


Q:

Aren't you supposed to get official approval from headquarters or something before doing something like this? I mean, can you speak in an official capacity?

A:

Not to my knowledge, no. They would certainly mention it if there were any rules against it. There is some information I'm pretty sure I shouldn't disclose though, and im certainly not gonna do that


Q:

How does the Soros/Clinton/Bilderburg network instruct you how to alter the results? Do you have to do this vote by vote as they're entered or do you wait until the precinct tabulation stage? Are you all sleeper agents executing independently or are you centrally controlled by a hivemind via corrupted wifi signals and chemtrails? What does the government know about your network's use of MCULTRA data to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids? What is BLACKBRIAR? Who's running TREADSTONE now? WHO'S RUNNING TREADSTONE???

A:

The leader of the Department of Elections is a shape-shifting human/Lizard hybrid. His people are mind controlling all of the election officers and are getting us to tamper with the cartridges and get us to sway voters in whatever way they see fit. If you see this send help; and remember hats made out of tin foil are the only things that can protect you from their advanced mind altering technology.


Q:

How do you think the result of the election will affect the world on an international scale?

A:

Much more than I'd like to think about. I can't hep but wonder what my grandkids will think looking back at this election. It's so weird to think about.


Q:

How serious do you guys take the threats that were made by ISIS to "slaughter" anyone who votes? And what do you guys plan to do about it?

A:

I haven't heard of these threats, actually. Do you have a link to an article?

That might actually be an issue. Under most circumstances I don't see them taking much action, but if the threat turns out to be formidable enough, then I would see them sending out a few police officers to help guard the place.


Q:

I found this in a US gov site

How Computerized Ballots are Handled

With the newer, fully computerized voting systems, including optical scan and direct recording electronic systems, the vote totals may be transmitted automatically to the central counting facility. In some cases, these devices record their votes on removable media, such as hard disks or cassettes, which are transported to the central counting facility for counting.

So I don't think there is any secrecy on how you get the ballots from the machine.

A:

It's more complicated than that, though. There's a validation process involved that requires hep from all of the officers.


Q:

Have you ever seen someone try to cheat the system?

A:

Like, have I seen someone try to vote multiple times, deter others from voting, pretending to be an official, etc.? No, I haven't personally seen that. But that stuff does happen on occasion, and I'm well equipped to handle that.


Q:

What do you think about vote-by-mail (like Oregon and Washington, where EVERY ballot is sent by mail, and can be mailed back or returned to a drop box) as the only means of voting?

A:

That's a thing? There's no electronic voting machines or anything?

This is the first time I've heard about this, to be honest. I think that's outrageous. The voter turnout must be very terrible in those states. I'd advocate for, at the very least, a few polling stations spaced out throughout those states. But to have none at all? That's unbelievable.


Q:

I've seen people saying they wish to request paper ballots instead of using the voting machines. Are the election officials required to provide paper ballots?

A:

I specifically asked this question during my most recent training session. No, we are not required to. I think it would be a good thing if it were the case, though.


Q:

In your observation/opinion, do you think a paper ballot system is more or less secure than an electronic system?

I can think of pros and cons to each, but I'm curious to see what someone "behind the curtain" thinks.

A:

I personally like the idea of a paper ballot system. It causes less problems and that's the way it's been done for years and years before. I think it should at the very least be an option.


Q:

What's your thoughts on the early Newsweek magazines being photographed by store employees with Hillary on the cover as the next President?

https://i.redd.it/jsg5btj9g2wx.jpg

A:

Oh wow. That's really messed up, to be honest with you. That's undermining this country's democracy. It's not over till it's actually over; they have no right to make it look like she actually won.


Q:

How did you get this job? What were the requirements?

A:

This was answered in another comment. I'll see if I can find it for you.


Q:

Back in the 2012 election I saw a poll worker was helping a disabled person into the polling booth. The curtain was open, everyone in line could see and the poll worker asked, "Do you want to vote all Democrat?".

Was that legal? If not, what should I have done after I saw this?

A:

That was absolutely NOT legal. You should have alerted one of the other poll workers or called the department of elections. I can see about 5 laws in there that were broken.

What was the response from the disabled man?