I come from a family of teachers. My grandmother (mother’s side) was a teacher. My mom is a teacher. My sister is a teacher. Several of my aunts are teachers. In the past elections, public school teachers were normally required to man polling places. The only way they can opt out was if they are sick. Complete with a letter from the doctor.
It’s crazy as hell to man a precinct especially if one is assigned to a relatively unpeaceful area. You have to keep your bags locked in your cabinet or desk since thieves do go to polling places. Once, I made the mistake of placing my dinner on top of a cabinet. Didn’t get to touch it afterwards. Gone.
My dad has been very supportive. He would bring lunch, dinner and snacks. The three members of the Board of Election Officers (BEI) would take turns eating at times when there aren’t that many voters.
The counting of ballots and completion of the election documents would make the BEI stay up sometimes until the wee hours of the morning.
A BEI member must have a strong bladder since she/he cannot exactly leave when she/he needed to. Since voting is held in public schools, comfort rooms are not really that, well, nice. Plus you have voters who actually think that it’s okay to do or not do things to comfort rooms that aren’t theirs. Or maybe that’s how they are at their own homes.
Then there was that time when a kid, a toddler really, actually pooped in the precinct I was assigned to. A poll watcher was nice enough to clean after the kid. The mom did not even bother.
There are some people who would have their nails primped before going to the polling places, vote and then demand that the BEI place only a teeny, weeny drop of indelible ink on her/his index finger. “I just had my nails done,” they would say while hastily wiping off the ink. Some would get angry if you cannot provide them with rags where they can wipe the ink off. Come on. They know what they were getting into. They should have their nails done after voting.
As for me, a marked finger is a sign of a responsible citizen.
I will be updating this post as I come to remember other things that I have experienced in the past elections.