Wednesday, November 09, 2011


I have never been particularly good with introspection.

I told my wife that I likely would not go for another term as judge of elections, once this one is up next year. It's an easy enough job; the main requirement seems to be having someone who is willing to give direction, and to tell people how to get things done, or why they cannot. Occasionally, there are awkward moments, such as when a voter gets himself into a tizzy and you have to gently get them off the ledge and back to where they want to be, or when a voter asks why we don't require identification when voting. I think they assume, as I would have, that we're all highly trained and experienced Voting People, conversant with the laws, rules, guidelines, recommendations, and whatnot that cover the area. There are certainly enough of them, and every election, they seem to have more -- this time, they included a sign to post saying that only voters and poll staff could be in a certain area. Who else is there? one of my people asked, and I had to admit that I had no idea. (Now, I think they're trying to limit people from other areas, such as news reporters and politicians running for statewide office.) But most of that is trivial.

I do get tense beforehand -- will this be the time that we can't get the machines up and running by 7AM? Doesn't help when people show up late. We did find that the time on the machines is not only wildly different from one to another -- one said it was 7:02 when another said it was 7:11 -- but that the machine is 'smart' enough not to let you turn it on just because you're saying Dammit, it is SO 7AM, turn on! One of my staff asked why they couldn't just skip that one and come back to it, and I told them that the rules said THIS one had to be first. Why? they asked, and I didn't know. Makes no sense to me.

And I worry about shutting stuff down -- am I going to remember to sign everything, put it in the right place? My position is the biggest bottleneck -- I, or I and the inspectors, or I and everyone else, has to sign every damn form. And things go get filed weirdly, like this is how they evolved and no one is willing to start from scratch -- this paper goes in Envelope H which goes into Envelope A -- except that there IS no Envelope A; that one goes into Envelope B while a copy goes in the Small Manila Envelope and one gets taped to the door. I made a checklist, and it works pretty well -- its been a while since I had to add anything. We're more likely to skip a step because we want to get the hell out of there than because it isn't on the list.

Still, those aren't the reasons I want to quit. I tell people it's boring to sit there all day, which is true, but that's not it. I told my wife that I don't want to be doing this when I'm 66, which is what I'd be at the end of another term; that's true (I hate the idea of the geezers doing this for ten, twenty years, and I despise the thought of being one of those geezers), but that's not the reason. I don't know what it is.

But I'd like to.


genderist said...

But you'd make such a nice geezer!

Cerulean Bill said...

I would like to think that I would be one of those slender, agile, surprisingly perceptive ones with piercing eyes and a droll wit, but I suspect I'd be more the Doesn't tolerate fools easily types. And I'd think most people fools, too.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if that service is appreciated or not but it is a necessary one. And I suspect it is appreciated. And it's a periodic change of pace. So...

Cerulean Bill said...

I have mulled over what could be changed, and the only thing is the long droughts of boredom. I wish we could close for a long lunch. A looooong lunch!