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#1 Jul 10, 2008
IS THIS WHAT YOU REALLY THINK OF US [AND OF THE VOTING PROCESS]?
For two years now, judges for the 86th precinct have been asked to serve an wildly expanding precinct in illegal, and impossible quarters. We are given a space designed to serve candy & soft drinks to perhaps 50 people per day at most from machines, and perhaps, at any one time, a maximum of 10 people at a time sitting down eating (5 small 2-person tables.) There are no doors on this space. There are no places to store personal valuables such as pocketbooks. There is neither wall nor floor space for the proper arrangement of voting personnel, voting machines, or booths to serve wheel-chair voters.
Last November this precinct contained 1,000 eligible voters. We were sent materials for 700 voters. While, in fact, we only had 500, we could well have 700 next Nov. That amount of material used up the very small amount of floor space available behind the tiny tables. The tiny ROUND tables are totally absurb in the context of ballots which are 17" x 28". One table is required to HOLD the Voter Register; no room is left for perusal.
We had 5 Touch-Screen Voting Machines. These machines require a large space for each one. Furthermore, we are told that we MUST arrange them in such a way that privacy is given to each voter as they vote. Last November, we had to cram them one against the next in order to get all 5 in use. Without them, voters would still have been waiting next morning. Our instructions are that, if assistance is needed, privacy must be provided as it is given. In this totally inadequate space, there is no such room. Even the booths, which were in constant use just because of the press of people waiting, do not have the distance and alignment that allow for privacy. The most flagrant disregard of voter regulation regards the inviolability of the space itself. We are supposed to have a room with one entrance/exit which can be shut to give the Judges privacy when the polls close. We cannot even keep out the children, grownups, staff who come to help themselves to drinks, candy etc.
Many former judges may not have realized how much the voting scene has changed. This precinct is the site of THREE large retirement/assisted living homes. This past November, we received a constant stream of these elderly voters. Most of them had not used the Touch Screen machine before, and many who had, had forgotten how to do so. They had forgotten the new way to mark their ballots. They had forgotten how to feed a paper ballot into the ballot counter. All of this had to be explained on a one-to-one basis, and loud enough for elderly ears to understand. The five judges present were busy non-stop! We had no place to take a quick lunch break since we were in the Park Center lunch area. We had no way to use a bathroom without leaving the voting space.
This space was never designed to be used by so many people at once. Many of the voters who arrived at 6 pm to vote, and found us plagued by breaking machinery, and fatigued by the total lack of oxygen because of the overcrowding, simply left in digust. I doubt if they return this next fall!
Tell me out there: is it your opinion of mugs who try to serve as judges? Or your opinion of the democratic process?
Just dont send me to Park Center snack center again.
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