This year, for the first time, I became an Election Inspector.
Now, in NY in order to be an Election Inspector you have to take a 4 hour class . This class covers the proper way to sign in voters. How to ask for additional information if the voter is not in the book. How to offer affidavit ballots (used to be called provisional ballots). And a myriad of other things.
The training includes using the voting machine and helping folks, if they need help, in placing the ballots in the machine.
Then, you must take and pass a test on all this stuff.
I worked from 5 AM to 1:30 PM, only half a day. Most inspectors work the entire day , which lasts 17 hours.
In NY inspectors are appointed by the political parties, with the two top parties working the polls. That would be the Democrats and Republicans. I am a Democrat. At all times you must have both parties present, hopefully in equal numbers.
Now I live in deep Republican country. If fact, in these local elections most offices do not even have a Democrat running. And the 2 or 3 that were running for county offices lost. Badly. One bright spot was the coroner.
The county coroner position was won by a Democrat! How did that happen?. Well, the GOP candidate forgot to file his petitions. His party was not happy with him. I doubt that the cadavers are too concerned.
Since the district I was working in had very few voters trickling in, we all had a lot of time to socialize. The GOP chairman in charge of this precinct happened to go to the same college, Michigan State University, as I did… but a few years later. We all chatted together, Dems and Repubs, telling jokes, swapping stories and helping each other figure our how to solve problems with ballots, etc.
You see, one of the rules in NY is that as an inspector you are not allowed to talk politics.
I have to say that I liked most of the people I met. Well, I liked ALL of the Republicans but there was one Democrat that rubbed me the wrong way. They were all so…HUMAN.
Did they really vote for Trump? Did they really support his racist policies? Do they think that Dems are communist and hate America?
I don’t know. But these folks seemed normal enough. Why on Earth would they vote for the GOP? I suppose they had the same thoughts about me. How could this guy, who seems decent enough, vote for the Dems?
It used to be like this in Congress. The Dems and GOP had different philosophies but did not go after each other personally. They treated each other like human beings, not caricatures. They fought the battle of ideas, not character assassination. What happened?
I will never agree with or accept the philosophy of the Republican party, no doubt. However. It will be hard. But the next time I see Jim Jordan or Mitch McConnell or even Donald Trump I will try to remind myself: My God, They’re Human.