first of five

Published on: 4/5/2012

One election down, four more to go. Tuesday's primary at Waukesha's newest polling location - St. Mary's - went well, if a little slow. I attended four training sessions this year and never felt more ready for an election. We had more than enough competent poll workers. Didn't even come close to running out of ballots. The St. Mary's Community Room is a large, comfortable, well-lit affair with kitchen and restrooms close by, plenty of parking and handicap accessible. 

The issues were minor. We had problems with our new optical scan ballot counter. Some issues with inadequate signage on the street directing voters to the Community Room. A double wide line of parents temporarily blocking the entrance to the parking lot while waiting to pick up their kids after school. Our ward book sometimes not agreeing with the yellow cards mailed to households this year.

All in all I was happy with the way things worked out, and the issues we had just something to work on before May and June elections. Many things were learned from the recount which we're using to improve the security and quality of the vote and elections. We have much better ballot bags. We now write everything in pen. Voters sign poll books... and many other sensible changes - things we should have been paying attention to before if only we'd known.

Heard a couple of related things the following day. Presumed Republican nominee, Gov. Romney, was handing out free subs at Cousins on election day just up the street from where I usually work. Some Democrats accused him of breaking the law by buying votes with sandwiches. Subgate or something. Cousins is in the 8th District, the one I was working the polls for. So our potential future president was supposedly breaking election laws on election day in the district I was chief inspector for and I didn't even get a free sub?

Kathy Nickolaus just can't seem to catch a break. Election night, following rules put in place by Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board, Nickolaus ended up having to post machine tapes on the wall. After the memory card and pack reader failed to work, all of Waukesha County's results had to be hand tallied and reporters and campaigns had the pleasure of trying to figure out how to read the tapes fastened to the wall outside Kathy's office. As poll workers we're supposed to gather information from the tapes for end of night paperwork and reconciliation, and I'm telling you right now it's not fun.

I'm looking forward to larger turnouts in the four upcoming elections. Thanks for voting last Tuesday. We'll see you again May 8th.