Posted tagged ‘election day’

“Election Day” is up for reading

August 23, 2021

My recently accepted story “Election Day” is up for reading in the holding pen at Down in the Dirt Magazine. The piece will appear in an upcoming printed volume, but the editor has posted it online already.

“Election Day” has been accepted

August 19, 2021

Well, the drought of 2021 has ended; one of my short stories has been accepted for publication in Down in the Dirt.

I wrote the story “Election Day” based on my experience volunteering at the last two elections in my community. (I’m scheduled for the general election in November too. I’m becoming a junkie.) While the incident I wrote into the story didn’t happen, I had discussed the possibility of it with our site supervisor at the time, and she confirmed that such things do happen. Nor is it an especially atypical incident in modern America; I just framed it into an election day.

The acceptance letter I received is nearly a thousand words long and goes into some detail about the various ways they will publish the story (online later this week, in the v190 bound edition in December, possibly in a collection next year). Curiously, aside from my name in the salutation, there was no personalized information, not even the title of my story, in the acceptance letter.

This acceptance came quickly. I had only submitted to the journal four days before. (While this isn’t the fastest acceptance I received — that one came in a few hours — it is the first of this year.) I am on staycation this week, and I had risen from a four-hour nap (I’d ridden the 26-mile route on the trail that morning) to find the acceptance email.

This is also one of the fastest written stories I have done: two weeks from start to submission. Re-reading it now, there are a few things I would tinker with but I think the story stands well as it is.

I’ll publish the link when it comes online.

election day

August 5, 2021

We had a primary election here on Tuesday, and just as with the general election last fall, I worked the polls, giving a long day to my civic responsibility.

The process, the location, and even some of the volunteers were the same this time as last, but I was still required to take refresher training (fine with me). We also had to wear masks again, and many of the voters did too. The one difference this year was that we didn’t have to get to the polling place at 5:30 in the morning; we could wait until 6:00! (Fortunately, the early hours were not a problem for me, and the location was literally blocks from my house.)

Since this was a local primary, the turnout was expected to be low. Our location was forecasted to have about 330 voters through during the day. When we opened the doors at 7:00, we already had a line of a half dozen people, but that was great since it gave we five volunteers a chance to warm up.

We had three ballot stations, where voters make their selections, but one of them died on us about halfway into the morning. That created a bottleneck in the flow of voters through the stations, but even when voters had to wait their turns, they were always congenial, and several commented about how pleased they were that people were voting in a minor election.

Officially, we were supposed to transition through the stations hourly. At the start table voters were found in the data base and given their ballot. They would then be escorted to the ballot stations to make their choices. And finally they would cast their ballots at the final station that collected them. After this, they got the coveted sticker and were on their way. The greeting table generally required two volunteers. The escorting step needed two but often only had one volunteer. And the final station had one volunteer to help get the ballots recorded properly. Plus, one of the five of us was supposed to float, being the experienced “boss” of the process. She would help us when we got confused and discussed issues the voters raised as they stepped through the process. (There was supposed to be a sixth volunteer, but she ghosted.)

We found through the day that few of us could stay strictly with our scheduled duty. Because we were short handed, we were often filling in wherever there was a gap in the process. Thus I might check someone in and give them their ballot then escort them to the ballot station, only to hustle back to the start to escort another voter or check in someone since that volunteer was escorting a voter. We were multitasking, and while I’m sure I got a good cardio work out, it did make the time pass quickly.

We had the expected rushes early in the morning, around lunch time, and then after 5:00, but throughout the day we pretty much had a constant flow of voters, including lines at the hours when we expected to be dead. We bounced between tasks and did out best to keep the voters happy.

By early afternoon we had exceeded our forecasted number of voters. By the end of the day we came close to doubling what had been expected for our location. (And early voting had been underway for a week before.) Everyone was pleased (and exhausted) by the turnout.

In the morning, 7:00 p.m. looked impossibly far away, but by closing time I wondered where all of the hours had gone. Packing up took less time than I expected, in large part because a new process had been established, and I was home in time to have a beer and watch a little television (still as inane as I remembered it to be).

I will volunteer for the general election in November, which will be my third, so I’ll be seasoned.

election day 2020

November 3, 2020

It is now 3:43 a.m. I am up, showered, dressed, and eating my breakfast. I’ll pack my lunch soon and then drive the few blocks to a neighborhood church where I will work at the polls until the voting day is done.

We are a civilized, purple county in a red state, so I don’t expect any incidents of intimidation or vandalism, though I won’t be surprised if patience is worn-thin among those standing in line to vote (if the forecasts are correct for turnout).

I’ve never done this work before. Perhaps I’ll have stories to tell.