I spent Election Day serving as a republican poll challenger, along with two Democrat poll challengers (one an ACLU lawyer) and some college students working for a non-partisan “Voter’s Rights Project” at the same precinct.
There were more than 200 people in line when the polls opened at 7:00 a.m. I was deeply impressed at how well the precinct was run, especially since many of the election workers were “first-timers” themselves. In this precinct, nearly 800 people voted for Obama and an even dozen (yes, that’s 12) voted for McCain.
In the early afternoon I took a break and visited with an not-to-be-named Democrat friend at an undisclosed location. When I told him what I was doing that day, he (more or less jokingly) said that I’d “better get back to my voter suppression efforts.”
I never actually needed to formally challenge a voter’s eligibility, because the precinct captain was very proactive in resolving questions and problems. The closest I came was one ACORN-registered new voter who needed to show I.D. to vote (he went back home and got it). All other questionable voters were effectively dealt with (usually with directions to their correct polling place) by the poll workers.
If, as my Democrat friend believed, my “job” as poll challenger was to suppress the vote, I apparently did a lousy job.
I know that my actual purpose was simply to ensure a free and honest election so that the votes of all those who are eligible are not diminished by vote-rigging and other unlawful actions. That’s the same reason the Democrat challengers and the precinct captain were there, so we got along just fine.
How did you spend your Election Day?