I’m taking a break this week from the Emmett Wilson writing marathon to follow in the Wilson family traditions of being politically involved.
On Tuesday, I will be an Election Judge in my precinct. I’ve been assigned a 6 am to 3 pm shift to run the poll books (in the morning), and whatever other duties the Chief Judge assigns on Election Day.
Emmett’s brother (and my distant cousin) Meade Wilson minded the polls, as did Francis Wilson, Jr., in Pensacola for several different elections. I don’t think Emmett ever worked the polls, or served in any similar capacity. The first time he voted was in the 1904 elections, and he was a Senior at Stetson University. Within two years, he was the Assistant District Attorney, then, States’ Attorney — so he wouldn’t have served any voting assistance capacity.
I decided to sign up right after I voted in the primary. There was sign-up sheet at the exit for those interested in helping out at the general election. I signed up; three weeks later I was invited to apply to work the general election.
After my application passed review, I was given an Election Judge manual to read, then I took three tests (they weren’t that easy). After I passed the tests, I was invited to attend the training sessions. The training was rather involved, including setting up the electronic poll booths, the ballot collecting devices, and the electronic voting assistance for voters who are hearing and/or sight impaired.
What’s more involved is the paper-trail: You wouldn’t believe all the sign-offs required at just about every step of the voting process — almost every form requires the signatures of election judges of both parties. And talk about bipartisanship in action — for instance, if a voter is blind and needs assistance, then an election judge from both the Democratic and Republican parties have to assist the voter together.
I’ve enjoyed learning how the voting process actually works:
- It is completely citizen-run, and that is a great opportunity to do one’s part in something so important as an election.
- It is particularly important to me, after having learned so much about suffrage during Emmett’s lifetime, to support and protect this precious privilege.
I don’t know if you read this article from October about some women who supported repealing the 19th Amendment. I gotta say, geez, women. READ HISTORY. Do you have ANY idea what Minnie Kehoe and her colleagues went through just for us to have the privilege to choose our leadership? Gah.
I’m looking forward to Tuesday. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Also — in Emmett Wilson Book news, I am down to the last 35 pages of the last chapter. Once I finish — I’m still not done!
I will do heavy editing, then construct the reference and notes pages. I still plan to hit the December 31 deadline. That’s my cousin — and Emmett’s niece’s — 99th birthday! I hope to have a draft to send to her soon.
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