Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I worked on the election board back a few weeks ago for the Nebraska Primary Election on May 13. My precinct is Bee, Nebraska, and this was my first experience as an election judge. I know, election judge sounds impressive! I arrived promptly at 7:00 a.m. and met the other four election board workers. Three were veterans of many elections and one other one was new, but his wife had done it for many years. We set everything up and got ready to open the polls at 8:00 a.m.
I voted right away because I wanted to try out the 'Automark' machine so I would be sure to know how to run it if we had a request to use it. Pretty easy to use, but it took longer than if I would have marked the ballot by hand. This primary election had very little to vote on, especially for me, a Democrat. True, I did vote for Hillary Clinton, although that will not really count for anything since our state held a caucus in February and selected the convention delegates at that time. There was one amendment to consider and the democratic candidates for Senate. That was it. If you happened to be registered as non-partisan, then you only received the ballot for the amendment. You have to ask for the Democrat or Republican non-partisan ballot if you want one.
Well, the five of us sat there until 8:00 p.m. That is 13 hours. Oh my. We had 64 out of a possible 265 people show up to vote. I am pretty sure that was repeated across Seward County; less than 25% of the people eligible to vote showed up to do it. I think there should be a better, less expensive way to do this. The five of us made minimum wage ($5.85 per hour) for 13 hours. Repeat that across the county about 10 times and that adds up. Couldn't we vote by mail or on-line?