Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day 2008 - the Polls are Open

Election day open thread

Your blogmeister just got back from his neighborhood polling place, Polk Elementary School, at 27th and Tyler. The school cafeteria/auditorium was efficiently laid out, with three alphabetically-divided sign-in tables at the entryway, and 16 voting machines set up in a semi-circle around the periphery. The Polk School site serves three voting precincts.

The nine election judges were courteous and business-like, and processed our polling book entry and voting card issuance quickly. One additional worker stood in the center of the auditorium keeping an eye out for open voting machines, and gesturing to voters in line as soon as a machine was vacant.

It was evident that the poll workers at this individual polling place had been adequately trained, with particular emphasis on handling a large crowd. The election workers were moving the line along, leaving little time for chit-chat with other voters. By the time your blogmeister had returned his card to the ballot clerk around 8:00 a.m., 153 voters had already cast their votes. The whole process took about six minutes for us.

All in all it was a satisfactory experience; but we're also wondering about other voters' experiences.

In that context, we've decided to set up an open thread to find out how other Weber County Forum readers regarded their own trip to the polls.

For our readers' information, by the way, we'll post another election article this evening, with hot links to State and County real-time results. Look for that new article around 8:00 p.m.

The floor is open. Talk about the election... or whatever you want to talk about.


Curmudgeon said...

On the matter of training pollworkers and polling place planning:

It needs improving. At the school where I voted, long lines in the hall to get to the first table... at which a poll worker simply found your name on a list and told you which of two rooms to go into to vote, since there are two polling places in the same building. She was at a table in the hall, with only overhead fluorescents to see in, and the nearest one was behind her, casting the voters list in shadow. She just couldn't see the small type well. Lines jammed up getting past her. [Half hour later, on the way out, I noticed the school janitor had found her a table lamp to help out.]

Enter the voting room. Table with various check in stations, according to first letter of last name {A-G etc.] Unfortunately the signs indicating which pollworker had the sign in book for your last name were table tents, on the table. Which means, if the room was crowded, and it was when I got there, people entering the room couldn't see the signs. People in front of them. Confusion as people got on the wrong lines. [Signs should have been on sticks above the tables so entering voters could see them and know which line they should go to no matter how crowed the room was.]

Poll workers have to code a credit card like thingy for each voter as they sign in, to make sure voter gets the right touch screen on his machine. As I waited in line before a voting machine, elderly gentleman in the next machine over said he couldn't get his machine to work. I told the poll worker who had signed me in. Her reply: "find the guy with the walker." Lines growing, the older guy still trying to figure out what was wrong. Minutes pass. No help. I told the poll worker again that that gentleman cannot get his machine to work, can someone assist him, please? Poll worker:"there should be someone here. Guy with a walker." No guy with walker.

Finally, a woman poll worker came to help the man. He'd not been doing anything wrong and his machine was fine. The card they gave him to activate the machine had not been coded. I finally stepped to my machine, inserted card. Error message: "This card has been cleared. Please remove from machine." I told the poll worker helping the older guy "I'm getting an error message." Turned out my card had not been coded right either. She figured out the poll worker charged with coding our cards did not know how properly to do that, so she ran her back through the process. Two machines now jammed up [mine and the older guy's] while she did it. Finally, our re-coded cards worked and we voted. Took a half hour at 7 AM start to finish. Down at other machines, people were bringing the coded cards back, reporting that the wrong voter screens [with races they were not supposed to vote in coming up; races they were supposed to vote in not coming up]. Their cards had been improperly coded too.

To be fair, part of the problem on my line was the lady in front of me at the machine who took a very long time to vote. I finally figured out what she was doing. Reading each of the const. amendments on the screen all the way through as they came up. Meaning she hadn't bothered to read them on the wall, posted right next to the line she had to stand on to check in. Then she took a cell phone call in the voting booth. When I become Ubergruppenfuhrer for North America in The New World Order, voters like will be sent to re-education camps. In Dbrovnik. In the winter. If they're lucky.

I should add that the poll worker/trouble shooter [who apparently came down from the other voting room to help out], knew what she was doing, figured out the problem [cards not being coded right] and got it fixed, once she came down --- the "guy with a walker" who was apparently the trouble shooter for that room never appeared. It was troubleshooting well done. But the need for it could have been, should have been, eliminated by better training of the poll workers encoding the cards.

This all isn't really rocket science, planning for smoothly running polling stations. Or it shouldn't be. And as you increase the complexity of the technology... two polling stations in one school, requiring an extra line and check in station to funnel voters to the right room, and then differently coded cards, several of them, in each polling station to make sure the voter gets the right screen with the right races for him on it... you inevitably increase the opportunity for glitches. As I saw this morning. The more complex the process and technology is, the more thorough the training of pollworkers needs to be.

Hopefully, by the time the lunch and after-work rushes begin, things will, at last, be running smoothly.

another yellow doggy d said...

It's all good, I voted early. Most likely the same as Curm, there are more than one Dem's in Ogden.

Curmudgeon said...

WTG, Another. Let's throw the rascals out, the lot of 'em.

monotreme said...

I will be out this afternoon as a poll watcher. I don't plan to stay too long, because I'm hoping and praying it's boring as bat guano.

Wade said...

I voted today up at the Taylor Elementary school. I was in the door at 7:05 a.m. and didn't leave till 7:40 a.m.

Only 3 voting machines were up and running when I arrived. I believe about 7 were functioning when I left.

The room was too small to execute the plan the way the poll workers had planned.

I waited in line to give my name just to get in line to wait get a card and then again another wait to get to a machine. But I expected a wait and am by no means unsatisfied with the experience.

I do believe it could have been layed out and planned better but then again I didn't volunteer to help.

Thanks to all the poll workers/watchers for the time and effort. It can't be all that fun.

OgdenLover said...

Are poll workers asking to see a Driver's License or was that just done at early voting?

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

If you are going to be an effective Ubergruppenfuhrer for North America in The New World Order you will have to be a hell of a lot meaner than to send folks to Dbrovnik! You can send me there any time, the place is actually quite magical!

If you really want to be a total bad ass you should think of sending miscreants Harrisville to undergo Godfreyesque training.

I voted yesterday, twas really so easy and fast that I think I'll do it again today!

Wade said...

Ogden Lover, No they didn't ask me or anybody I saw at the polls for identification.

I heard on the news that if this is your first time voting they'll ask.

It is a good idea to take ID with you. Just in Case!!!

Curmudgeon said...


Nobody was asking for ID where I voted this AM that I noticed. I handed my voting card to them, so they didn't need to ask me.

Lines at Wasatch at 7:10 AM. Took about 30 minutes to vote. Three different lines to get in, as Wade said of his polling place.

Just took The Geezer [aka Grandma Curmudgeon, 90] to vote at The Ice Sheet. [Phone call came about 10:00, when she saw it was snowing. She does not drive in snow. "Pick me up. Now. I need to vote." Yes'um. Right away.] No lines at all. About fifteen machines there, only four had people at them. Quiet as a churchyard.

And, lest my first post be misunderstood: I found all the poll workers polite, and helpful when asked [except for the troubleshooter not being quickly available when needed], and the layout in the small crowded room creating a little confusion because of poor signage. But the poll workers themselves were aces as far as courtesy and helpfulness. True at the Ice Sheet too where The Geezer called for help figuring out how to work "this infernal machine." [The Geezer does not much truck with computers and similar infernal machines.] That --- courteous and helpful poll workers --- has been true of every election since I got here more than seven years ago. And happily still is.

ET said...

I voted early, 10.31.2008, @ 4pmMT @ Weber County building. I did not have a voting card so I gave them my Utah Driver's license. They looked at their records, held my license and asked me to state my address. I did.

They then told me that someone else using my exact name and address had already voted at the Ice Sheet. Since it was Halloween, I forgot to ask if they had voted for Obama. If they had, I would have been happy and just gone home.

Because someone had already tried to VOTE for ME, they gave me a paper ballot to fill out. When I handed it in, I asked them when I could find out which vote counted. They told me to call back in about 2 weeks after 11.4.2008. I told them I would be too busy celebrating.

Curmudgeon said...


There is a national number, active all day today, to report voting problems. 1-866-ourvote They're taking reports from nationwide, and if need be can call in volunteer attorneys nationwide. If you think something other than simple error is involved, might be worth a call.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Come to think about it nobody yesterday ask me for any form of ID. They ask my name, then address and gave me a ballot.

Now that I'm thinking about it, it was so easy I think I will do it several more times today! I kind of like this voting thing!

Monotreme said...

I just got back from two hours of poll watching, and I'm happy to report I was bored silly.

Nothing untoward happened. The polling site (Farr West City Hall) was run smoothly; the poll workers were efficient and helpful.

Bill C. said...

Just finished exersizing my right, privilege or responsibility, howerver you see it, voting.
Walked in straight to the table got my card and had a dozen machines to choose from. I took the one closest, about 5 ft. from the table and was out in less than 5 minutes. Kinda makes you sad when you see what some in large urban areas have to deal with to vote.
Now I think I'll exersize another right, privilege and responsibility I have as an American citizen.
My buddy Tec, recieved some heavey fire from some here Sunday for questioning the appropriateness of the local rotc conducting manuevers in a heavily used local public park. Responses varied from public parks are open for anyone therefore they had a right, to personal attacks calling Tec a traitor for asking the question. There was hardly any exploration of the appropriateness of such a display nor what it tells us about where our society is heading. I think that this was more the desired discussion that was intended.
I myself believe that it shows poor taste, that it's not really in line with what our children should be getting accustomed to. A prosperous peacefull funtioning society should not have to use or posess the largest military hammer the world has ever known, our example should be quite adequate in convincing others to emulate us.
Shouldn't our efforts and energy be focused on fixing our own shortcomings and less on the affairs of others? Haven't the last 8 years exposed plenty that we need to deal with?
Is it not patriotic to self examine and work to correct the flaws we so clearly suffer from as opposed to the false patriotism implied by supporting our own unjust aggression in a war we have yet to understand the purpose of? I sense that most just feel that since we're there, we have to keep going, no second thought about the fact that in the end we will still have no control over the outcome. What ever the people there want they will get in the long run. Speaking of the long run, is military really the solution?
Good question Tec.

Machster said...

Huntsville was calm and serene this morning. The greeter recognized both me and my wife, checked us off her list, without any ID proof required.

Three little ole lady's basically did the same thing since we know their dog's names. The first one ("Spanky's" master) insisted I sign my name upside down and in pencil.

I asked if the pencil was manditory equipment so ACORN and/or the Democraps could "adjust" the ballot latter? They were typically humorless and did not seem to understand the joke.

It took less than seven (7) minutes all total to stand in line, go through the gaunlet of administration and touch the screen for Utah Democrats and National Reps.

Der Unbermachmeister Uber Bad Jaegerville

Bill C. said...

E.T., great to hear from you. You must be real busy, you've been silent so long. I'm glad to hear you're still fighting against heavey handed, poor mayors. Is that just some Utah thing? Good luck with the bow wows.

ET said...

Thanks Curm, re your support above, re getting short shifted out of my vote for Obama on Halloween. Since it looks like an Obama landslide, nationawide, My God, SHE...... is at work. So to hell with how Utah votes on the next Pres of our true NATIONAL Democarcy. An Obama landslide will be enough for me.

Besides, as per TEC J's past Sunday comment que, on Civil Liberties & ACLU, I have enough of my own bad guys to fry, right here in South Ogden:

ODE to the Utah ACLU


This is for Tec and the rest of you WCF US Constitutional Law enthusiasts.

I noticed, Tec, you included a hot link on the bottom of your original post:
ACLU Actions for Restoring America

Since most of us who read WCF live in Utah, info on ACLU Utah seems in order. I have recently had reason, stated below, to contact the ACLU Utah, in SLC. All of you will be saddened to know that there is only one lawyer representing all ACLU issues in ALL of Utah. Her name is Marina Lowe. She works out of the ACLU SLC office. That is the only ACLU office in all of Utah.

I am in the process of fighting a bogus citation of Criminal Trespass, given to me personally by VAL SHUPE, Chief of Police, South Ogden City. I have noticed that although this blog is called Weber County Forum, most of you do not consider South Ogden City to be worth mentioning on WCF.

However, since this is a true & local story of abuse of my civil liberties in South Ogden/Weber County, I thought it might be of interest to the WCF readership. Especially on Decision 2008, while we are waiting for the firs tround of polls to close.

My citation for Criminal Trespass (76.6.206), given to me on 10.17.2008 in the South Ogden Dog Park, was ordered by Val Shupe, because I choose to go into a public park in South Ogden. From 10.6.2007-6.9.2008, I helped legally modify this park from a crime infested, abandoned park, into a legally designated, totally fenced, off leash Dog Park. Which is open to ALL THE PUBLIC.

Info on this first greater Ogden/ Weber County area Dog Park can be found on my web site:
South Ogden Dog Park

Because the battle to get SOC to allow this abandoned park in the SOC park system to be turned into a fenced dog park was not a no-brainer, Mayor George Garwood selected me to levitate his personal revenge on. Seeking to pimp my ride, he used his day job, work computer @ the SOC Utah DMV office, to see if I had violations on my Utah Driver's License. Since I had none, he then proceeded to check out my husband's Utah Driver's license. BINGO!!! Lots to play with.

Garwood then proceeded to manipulate my husband's Utah Driver's license repeatedly, from 9.2007 - 12.31.2007. When I had this explained to me by a friend in mid-May 2008, I choose to take no retaliation. Other than sharing this information with people involved with the South Ogden Dog Park. I maintain a 60+ person email list for this Dog Park. For dog enthusiasts all over Weber County and north Davis County.

By Sept 2008, Garwood managed to get Val Shupe into the act. Of abusing my civil liberties. On 9.29.2008, SOC.COP Shupe ordered 2 of his police officers to give me a verbal warning at my home. That if I went back into the South Ogden Dog Park, I would receive a written citation for Criminal Trespass.

Having been an avid reader of WCF since 4.2007, I know that most of you are very interested in US Constitutional Law. I therefore assume you all know that it is an abuse of the Criminal Trespass(76.6.206) Law to give a Criminal Trespass Citation to anyone who goes into a public park and obeys the rules of that park. Even if you have warned them that you would abuse the Criminal Trespass Law iin this manor, in advance. Since I helped write the Park Rules for SODP (sod-pee), I obey all the rules all the time. More than most people who use South Ogden Dog Park do.

After consulting, for the last 2 weeks, with over 7 lawyers, from Ogden & SLC, I now am only trying to find a criminal lawyer to represent me to SOC Attorney Ken Bradshaw, to dismiss this bogus charge.

As for the abuse of my Civil Liberties, I am publishing this litany of local abuse on WCF, among other places in cyber space. Let their GOD be their judge.

Discharge of Criminal Trespass citation, only? Sounds simple??? For a base charge of $2,000.00, any number of criminal lawyers are willing to represent me. Is there a Criminal Defense Fund for ET, the leader of the first greater Ogden/Weber area legally designated, totally fenced, off leash DOG PARK? Not that I know of.

Are most of you laughing YET?


Jason W. said...

Related Election Day & Night note that in no way pertains to me:

Some goodly Utah arbiter/enforcer of appropriate vice and virtue has lifted the ban on spirits and strong beer at bars and restaurants during open polling hours. So for all you blog-happy denizens of the Forum out there who wish to guzzle a Grolsch while gutting down gifelte fish this evening, please do so. And hold the onions, please.


Curmudgeon said...

Jason W

For the first time in a very long time, I can say to you, without reservations, thank you for your post. That is good news indeed.

ET said...

ROAD TO 270+

MSNBC totals @ 6:26pmMT:
Obama 103
McCain 34

Carrying on with what Jason w. said, I vote WCF take up residency at Iggy's. Push Bob Geiger to his side of the place. Tune up MSNBC on the other half. AND watch those educated people vote, across the USA.

Curmudgeon said...


Do not count your chickens until they are hatched.... Especially not tonight.

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