Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
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Monday I was sworn in as a poll worker. Tuesday I spent 16 hours at Hawthorne School initialling and handing out ballots and helping make sure things ran smoothly at the polling station for Aldermanic District 4. Four of the seven workers, myself included, were first time workers. I think we handled the crowd pretty well.
I was very nervous about working such an important, unfamiliar job from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Could I remain alert enough after 16 hours? Could I handle the crowds, the rules, pressure, sitting on a folding metal chair, being away from TV, regular meals and a nap for 16 hours just to work the most historic election of my life? Knowing I'd need plenty of rest for such a long day, I got to bed early then tossed and turned much of the night from worry. But as you can see I survived.
Never before could we choose between an American hero, a minority, and a woman for the most important job in the country. I was extremely proud to see 1200 of my neighbors come out to vote, many for the first time.
For the most part the job wasn't too hard - my regular day job had already prepared me for doing more than two things at once. Besides, I brought a pillow just in case I couldn't handle it . . . for sitting on, not sleeping.
One of the hardest parts of the job was knowing which combination of papers, signatures, bags and envelopes goes with which. There literally are seals for the bags that hold a bag and envelopes for the envelope that holds the envelopes. There is a set order to everything, which would be hard to remember after an only ten hour day, and most things required all seven of our signatures. I was glad to do it too if it meant a close election wasn't decided by the way we handled our ballots.
Even though we were busy all day, 16 hours didn't really seem too bad. I'll be looking forward to helping out again during the big election in November, even though it's guaranteed to be busier with longer hours. I'll be nervous about it and lose sleep over it, but will take pride that I was around when history was made.
I'd like to thank everyone for making this a good experience. Marilyn took me under her wing and helped immensely. Maria was wonderful as the poll captain. Joan, Janet and Ruth helped me and each other as needed. All the voters were polite and patient with us even though the lines were sometimes long. The custodian helped make sure the floor was kept dry...