All in the Family

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See you at your neighborhood precinct!

See you Tuesday at your neighborhood precinct!

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.

Meade Wilson was an election judge, at least up until the point he ran for office in 1909. Source: The Pensacola Journal, April 1909.

Meade Wilson was an election judge, at least up until the point he ran for office in 1909. Source: The Pensacola Journal, April 1909.

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.

 

Minnie Kehoe, a woman ahead of her time. Source: TJCE, Vol. 24, No. 5, p. 278.

Minnie Kehoe, lawyer, businesswoman, suffragette and trailblazer.

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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Thanks, Minnie Kehoe!

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It’s primary day in Maryland!

Fresh from the polls!

Fresh from exercising my rights of suffrage!

When I went to vote this morning, I had Minnie Kehoe on my mind. When I exited the polls, I said out loud, “Thanks, Minnie!”

Minnie was a trailblazer for professional women. She knew she had to keep her cool even in the face of cads, whereas I would have just told them where to go.

Minnie was a trailblazer for professional women. She knew she had to keep her cool even in the face of cads, whereas I would have just told them where to go.

The polling clerk (a man) looked at me and smiled.

I’m sure he didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. Maybe his name is Minnie. Haha!

It went very smoothly — no long lines, everyone was pleasant and courteous. The only odd thing about the voting was that we had paper ballots. This is a first in all the years I’ve been voting here in Maryland. I asked the polling clerk about it, and he said, “some people wanted it that way.”  No chance of hanging chads, though. It was all fill-in-the-circle.

There was an electronic scanner at the exit door, in which I had to insert the legal-paper-sized ballot. It sucked the document with my selections into its large, black plastic maw, and then, a patriotic screen popped up, saying, “Thank you for voting!”

As I exited, the polling clerk I called “Minnie” told me not to forget my sticker.

On the way out, I filled out a little survey praising my suffrage experience, and then, decided to volunteer as an election judge at my polling place come November. I’ve never done it before, and my name was the first on the list. I figured the experience would be interesting.

The schools are closed on primary days in my county because many of the public schools serve as polling places. I tried to entice my kids to come along for the civics lesson. No luck. I even said, “there will be stickers,” hoping to at least get my youngest to come along, but no luck.