Letter from a vote center

Long day working the booth results in varied stories

Have you disinfected a lion? Flagged down a running woman? Doused a glue stick in disinfectant?

No? You must have had a boring Election Day. I, on the other hand, was a poll worker.

I really spent the day outside a vote center rather than inside one, since only seven people could breathe in the room at a time and my lungs weren’t welcome. But it had a nice courtyard and plenty of folding chairs, so I bore my fate stoically.

Besides, the most interesting things happen outside.

Like at 4 PM, when a lion in a purple jersey ran into the courtyard and even I, who would not know professional basketball if it beat me senseless, saw that this must be the Kings’ mascot. Then I noticed a camera and some disturbingly tall men distributing T-shirts exhorting people to “Be Woke: Vote.” Great message, but if someone is standing in line at a polling place, are they really ones who need to hear it?

I was disinfecting some voting booths we had set up outside when the lion reached my corner. “Finally,” I thought, “time to get a free T-shirt out of this.” The thing stuck out its paws and I spritzed them with disinfectant. Then it bounded off to give out merchandise to other people who were notably not me, leaving me to plot vengeance.

But let us not wallow in that. I have a lesson for you: even if you vote on an electronic touchscreen, you still need to turn in your paper ballot. If you don’t, you haven’t voted,

Do not sprint out the exit with your ballot still in your hand, like one woman did. She was fast. I appreciate speed; if election workers moved that fast, we would have had every ballot counted by 8:01 PM on Tuesday. However, please don’t make your friendly poll worker run. Furthermore, let your friendly poll worker offer you an “I Voted” sticker. If I have to run after you, you have to listen to me talk. But no, she moved like she thought the earthquake of the century was going to strike in ten minutes.

Voters also could drop off mail-in ballots at our center, and in case they needed to seal their envelopes, we set out glue sticks next to the drop-off bag. Most people used those. Some took off their masks and licked the envelope.

But one person was creative. This person stuck his finger in his mouth and tried to seal his envelope with that moisture. When this failed, he resorted to using the glue stick (with the hand he had just stuck in his mouth). If I always moved as fast as I went for the disinfectant the moment that man’s back was turned, I would be filling potholes with my Olympic gold medals. And how much disinfectant I used!

I could tell you more stories from my very long day, but lest you spend an equally long day reading my article, I will leave you with the image of a large spider dangling at face level right in front of a voter and let you imagine the rest.