posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 10:10 PM
I just finished reading about the voting fraud in Iowa, and it reminded of something I've experienced, and thought I'd share.
A few years ago, my city was trying to pass a bond for the 4th time. In past elections it had lost by a very small amount, and seemed by the third
time to be a sure thing (according to rumored sentiment). As I said, we were now on our 4th try, so of course 3 was not a charm.
Many citizens were very frustrated by this and I must say, suspicous. So we decided to do something about it. We looked into the laws of our polling
places in our state and found out that anyone can "Observe". So that is what we did, we got a bunch of caring citizens in our city to sit all day
and until after close to just observe the process.
I will tell you it was uncomfortable, but worth it. The people that worked at our polling place, (actually there were two polling places at one site
where I observed), were older, and a majority had all worked together for many years at this. They seemed to have never been asked if someone could
observe and some of them were downright nasty about it. They seemed to feel like we were spying on them, and I guess we were, if you want to look at
it that way. But it was our right. Anyway, we sat all day out of the way and just watched. The volunteers working were cordial to me, but I heard
others were not so lucky. A friend of mine was at the site next to me, and was talked rudely to, by two older male volunteers, and although I forget
now what was said, I know I might have caved and left. Fortunately she didn't.
We, the observers, all stayed until close and watched as the ballots were counted (again, our right to do so) to make sure they matched up to the
amount that had signed the book and also the counting of absentee ballots. This area of the voting process leaves a lot of room for error. I could
see with a little coordination, that certain ballots could be pulled from the pile, and even though the ballots are punch marked, it is not hard to
read them if you know which spots are for what candidate or measure. At the end, the ballots had to be counted several times, I watched it all, and
they came up a few short of what was expected according to the signature books. The polling manager, finally said, that the numbers would have to do,
and was very annoyed at having to count them all several times. She seemed rushed, and flustered, to me. (It could have been that she was nervous
that I was there and nothing else.) She commented that it is not unusual for the number of ballots compared to signatures to be off by a little. Ours
were off by 2, or some small number, can't exactly remember, but in the other room at the other polling place that my friend was at, they were off by
15, as I recall. The experiences were very similar at all the different polling places in our city, after we all sat down and spoke of our
Our bond passed! It was still a fairly close contest, but it passed. I can not say that observing made any difference and I'd like to believe it
did not and all volunteers are honest, but I don't think this is the case.
Personally, I saw that some of the polling volunteers had a strong political opinion, since they actually spouted it here and there, and so I am not
sure this is the kind of volunteer that belongs in the polling place. I don't know what the answer is to that, since we all have opinions, but
integrity is essential in this position.
I do think it is now our duty to start Observing, I mean seriously, not just in the worldly way, but literally start observing our polling places.
We did it and coincidence or not, we feel it made a difference.
We can talk about what is happening around us until the cows come home, but unless we get off our butts, we are in trouble.
Please add your opinions and stories if you've done this.