I'll be hitting the books hard tonight in preparation for going to the polls tomorrow. However, I won't be scanning election guides or campaign materials. Hard up for cash, I've signed up to be a pollworker at a precinct in Culver City. I haven't prepped this hard since sitting for the California bar exam.
I attended a training in South Pasadena last Wednesday where instructors introduced the new ballot box lid procedures and taught us how to process typical and provisional votors, set up polling places, practice audio ballot and Inkavote procedures and treat each voter with dignity and respect. Between instruction modules, leaders had us repeat the Registrar's prime directive: "Voting Never Stops" while the polls are open. Here's what I've learned so far--Over 120 million are expected to vote on Election Day. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder pollworker's newsletter is called "The Pollcat" and includes an election process-flavored cross-word puzzle. I love that. Did you know that a police escort accompanies each ballot box on the ride to Norwalk for processing? I didn't. This is serious stuff!
I am ready, excited and PROUD to be part of this year's Presidential General Election. I have never seen so much energy devoted to our democratic process amongst ordinary citizens (I was born in 1964 so I was too young to engage in all that New Frontier Society/civil rights excitement). At dinner parties, cocktail events and Starbucks runs, friends and acquaintances share their experiences working on campaigns or registering voters. Fellow LAObserved.com contributors, Erika Schickel and Cari Beauchamp have written about their participation in the Nevada "Drive for Change" canvassing operations and I'm sure that more stories will be forthcoming.
Voter participation is the first sign of health for a democracy. An engaged polity prompts an interest in information exchange and education as citizens struggle to stay informed. Even an idiot savant like Elizabeth Hassellbeck on "The View" now prints out information that she's downloaded from the Internet to support her arguments. People start learning to think for themselves and enjoying it. That hasn't happened in the US in a looong time. Regardless of Election Day outcomes, I think America's on the mend if every citizen exercises his or her right to vote. We are all better off when "Voting Never Stops."