Saturday, November 01, 2008


mom and i were talking about voting the other day. i shared that i'm the type of absentee voter who doesn't fully trust the mail-in system; i walk to a poll and hand my ballot to an official at a polling place, or in some cases, i've inserted my ballot into a voting machine.

mom asked if i were certain the rules permitted this type of voting, because in her precinct this practice was not allowed. (a bit unnerved, i promptly consulted the official guidelines in california and learned that i was in the right. whew.) mom knows these things because she's an official--a head official--at her precinct. what does this mean? it means she spends 16 hours each election day checking rolls, answering questions, and ensuring all rules are followed and voters are satisfied with their experience. mom's a marvel: the last time she worked the polls for the recent primary, she was diagnosed (and not contagious) with walking pneumonia. her sense of duty led her to work that day, even though i--and likely others--encouraged her to call in sick.

i'm not sure what led her to be a poll worker, but i imagine it has much to do with a feeling of responsibility to her community. this is the same drive that led her to be a nurse, to volunteer at our school library and then our public library, the same impulse that leads her to say, "are you ok?" and the same altruism that sparks relief in all when she arrives at a time of crisis.

each election day i think of mom, hoarse from talking all day, and playing her part to ensure our rights are protected.


david silver said...

wow, awesome post sarah. each time i vote i ask myself, "who ARE these poll workers?" i know a little bit more now.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post about a beautiful person. Thanks for singing the praise of an ordinarily unsung hero.

jini said...

awww, sarah thanks. you can picture me now with a tear in my eye. :)
i'm glad you found out you can vote by depositing your absentee form! i have always enjoyed working at the's so amazing to watch people come in and take advantage of the privilege to vote. they often comment on that, that they feel lucky to be able to make those choices.