Web Sites, Documents and Articles >> Hartford News  News Articles >

Primary Madness

Mike McGarry

March 13, 2008

The recent primary in the sixth district in Hartford’s Southend could be novel material. Your reporter worked the polls, as a checker, from 5:15am to 8:15pm Those horrible hours are part of the problem, as we will discuss.

Nobody should blame either Republican or Democratic Registars of Voters this time – the various candidate lists picked the “workers” and they did their best to train them and control the mayhem. The problems go well beyond local control anyhow.

First, the whole system is degraded by the new equipment. The “privacy booths” look like Kmart blue light specials. Reminding one of a cheap, outdoor grill, they are not really private, the pens run out of ink quickly, and define sensible placement for voters to find the actual voting “machine” that looks like a paper shredder. Gone the majesty of a curtain and the satisifying “click” of your vote. The Black Box eats your vote, hopefully recording it.

The most hilarious feature of the system is that after one marks the ballot, filling in those tiny circles, you need to be sharp to find the voting “machines”. People wander around with voting officials waving their arms and shouting “over here, over here”. That is, if they are not goofing off, smoking in the lobby or flirting with the girls.

Now to the real nub. The help. At our polling place, three hip-hoppers, with the hat (backwards), the hoods, the baggy pants, were “election officials”. Girls, smokes and private conversations took up a good part of the day with an occasional “hey yo!” shout at the errant, confused voter.

The greatest story is of a 19 year old “election official” who was visited by his stunning 13 year old girl friend. 13 going on 20. Her mother showed up to loudly proclaim that the “election official” was on his way to jail if he kept it up.

Suggestions to who ever is in charge next time:

Dress Code. No hats, no hoodies, no underwear evident.

No socializing in the polling place (flirting belongs outside).

No smoking on school grounds

Large department store style signs pointing to the “voting machines” from the privacy booth.

Finally, the 15 hour day is too long, and seniors should be trained, well trained, to come in midday to give 2-3 hour breaks to those who need rest or business time. Much of the nonsense that goes on comes from boredom during midday when few vote. Coming back refreshed would make the experience much better and attract more serious workers.

Anyhow, quite a day for your servant. Someone picked up the wrong glasses (my glasses) making the whole thing a losing proposition for yours truly. Got the wrong glasses? Give us a call at 296-6128!

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
Powered by Hartford Public Library  

Includes option to search related Hartford sites.

Advanced Search
Search Tips

Can't Find It? Have a Question?