November 02, 2004

Local WA Precinct

I stopped by my local polling station (I've already voted absentee) to see what was going on. Asked the poll workers about the process, ran into some Republicans, good times.

When I got there, 660 regular ballots and 100 provisional ballots had beeen cast, not counting absentee ballots turned in. The first poll worker I talked to suggested that it would get really busy after 6pm. The inspector, who'd worked the same precincts for the last 10 years said that in 2000, a total of only 460 ballots were cast.

In this state, provisional ballots may be cast at any polling station. (I know that isn't the case everywhere.) They're set aside in an envelope, and the name is crosschecked with the voter's assigned precinct's rolls to verify that they only cast one ballot. Absentee ballots from anywhere, even other states, may be turned in enclosed in their signed envelopes at any polling station.

The poll workers were glad about the volume, but said that the extra paperwork from the provisional ballots had kept many of them so busy they hadn't had a break all day.

I saw the optical scan machine kick out a ballot, and the poll worker explained to the voter that it had probably been filled in too lightly. She told me that ballots filled in too lightly, with X's instead of solid circles, or with multiple votes cast in the same race were automatically kicked back out for correction.

A couple of Republican attorneys showed up to observe, which was all I saw them do. They said that turnout had been high all over, which they were glad to see, but there had been some problems. They'd showed up at one precinct to find poll workers putting provisional ballots straight into the machine instead of setting them aside for crosschecking. Also, in a Redmond precinct, they said that some MoveOn supporters were holding signs in the parking lot too close to the polling place. They said that the sign carriers had to be asked to leave several times.

Posted by natasha at November 2, 2004 06:21 PM | Elections | Technorati links |

I was working in exurban snohomish county -- by noon the poll workers said they had seen as many ballots as they usually do in a whole day (in a presidential year) and at 6pm, they had many many more than they had ever had before (>700 regular ballots alone), and the parking lot was packed with cars and pedestrians streaming in. Our list of infrequent democratic voters was >80% checked off as "voted."

Good times.


Posted by: Liam Yore at November 2, 2004 06:34 PM