Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Working the Primary--It's a Trust Thang

I've been hired to work as a polling site supervisor for the upcoming Feburary 19th primary election. To get the job I simply called the King County Records & Elections office. That's it.

The woman I spoke to said they were desperate for workers, so if you're looking for some temp work this is a good gig. I'll earn about $400 for attending a one-day traning session and working the day of the election.

As a site supervisor, prior to the election I am given a key to the site and I have free access to ballots, equipment and supplies. I also transport the ballots post-election to the counting center (I get to pick a poll worker from the "opposite" party to come with me while transporting ballots, but if there isn't an actual "opposite" available, I can simply designate somebody.)

While I deeply appreciate this opportunity, and I need the money, I am really bothered that our elections are still run primarily on trust. I care deeply about the sanctity of the vote, and it seems inconceivable to me that I can be hired as a site supervisor and be given such free rein simply by making a single phone call asking for a temp job.

Realistically, if the votes from just one small polling site were tampered with it probably wouldn't make a damn bit of difference in the outcome of our elections. But what if it did? Or what if one political party gamed the system by signing up party loyalists en masse to work at several polling places? Or what if a computer hacker gained remote access to the system via work at a polling place? I imagine that King County has instituted double-checks of some sort (especially given the fallout from the razor-thin election victory of Gov. Gregoire over Dino Rossi in the last general election), but still, what if the double-checks can be circumvented at the polling site?

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