My journey as a first time poll worker for the midterms

Story and photo by Michael Nueva

While working as a poll worker, I took a quick photo of our democratic process in action.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters from Los Angeles county, where I worked as a poll worker for the first time, cast their ballots to choose which candidates California should have and which propositions should pass into our new laws.

For poll workers, Election Day lasted from 6 a.m. through 9 p.m., where we stayed the entire time to make sure we served each voter accurately and fairly.

There were seven poll workers that day, including me, but excluding the inspector.

My fellow poll workers and I set up the polling place by displaying the “Polling Place” sign as well as a “Vote Here” sign,  another curbside voting sign, an American Flag, the Voter’s Bill of Rights, the top 2 primary notice from the Secretary of State, a no electioneering sign, and finally, directional arrows.

We also set up the a couple of machines. A precinct ballot reader (PBR), the ballot box, and audio ballot booth (ABB), all which played huge roles in running the voting successfully, so the poll workers’ work would be easier, than having to count all the votes ourselves.

A voting inspector and the poll workers set up their table together and placed all important tools and papers that would serve as equipment to make the Election Day run smoothly and properly.

We, the poll workers, were not allowed to discuss matters about candidates and propositions and the voters had to do the same.  

One of the things I found interesting during my work as a poll worker was the fact that some voters forgot where their precinct was, so they ended up doing a provisional vote in order for their vote to count, without having to go to another location.

According to the California Secretary of State, “Provisional Voting ensures that no properly registered voter is denied his or her right to cast a ballot if that voter’s name does not appear on the Roster of Voters due to computer, processing, clerical, or other error.”

Some voters, who decided to cast their ballot in person, had to surrender their “vote by mail” ballots in order to vote, but they would be considered as provisional voters.

I helped my fellow poll workers by passing each corresponding ballot to each voter who came in.

I also helped the voters by giving them their ballot receipt, then turning in their ballots into the PBR, where I would see if their vote was counted, and when the machine counted it, I then gave the voters their“I Voted” sticker before they left.

The age range that voters came in during Election Day was 18-89 years old, based on their appearance and it was a diverse group of voters of all genders, all religious backgrounds, and ethnicities.  

About 297 voters cast their ballot with us that day, while many others dropped off their “vote by mail” ballots, which I happened to be one of.

We spent all day at it, but toward the end of the day, some voters decided to wait until the last minute to vote by coming at 7:40 p.m. before the Election night schedule was over.

At the end of the night, when the clock struck 8:00 p.m., since we didn’t have any voters waiting in line, we were able to collect all of out signs, pack up our machines, and then our time as poll workers, for that day, had ended.