Hello all! I'm an election officer who worked at the primary elections, and am greatly anticipating working during this upcoming election for president of the United States.

You know those people who greet you when you walk into the polling place? Who gets your signature, calls out your name next to the voting machine, or directs you to where you need to go? I do all of that, and then some. Working at a polling place is a complex task and can be difficult, but at the end it's very rewarding!

Anyways, feel free to ask me any questions you may have! I'd love to see what kinds of questions you guys have.

My proof

Envelopes for my acceptance letter and my payment check from last time: http://imgur.com/CO1TC92

Acceptance letter from last time. Conveniently I was unable to find the one for this time: http://imgur.com/5NPBofC

The training manual/instruction booklets they give you during training courses: http://imgur.com/cd7o1Cb

edit: keep the questions coming, guys! I still have a lot to answer and i will get to them as soon as I can. I have to go to sleep now in order to wake up on time. I'll let you know when the cutoff point is!

edit 2: (Oct. 7, 2016, 7:08 PM GMT -4:00) well guys, it was nice answering your questions! I'm gonna answer the ones I have left and then that'll be it. I hope it was nice for you guys!

Comments: 291 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Jefethevol39 karma

As an official tasked with upholding election integrity, does it bother you about accusations or even evidence of collusion? If so what are the plans to prevent unfairness in the future primaries?

Blucatt44 karma

Fraud is always a legitimate concern, so it doesn't bother me too much. Even so, people are taking major steps to make sure each election is fairer than the last. The department of elections is constantly updating rules and working in new laws, and they're doing a magnificent job of making each election run as smoothly as possible.

Jefethevol6 karma

Thank you for your answer but do you know of any specific steps the election commission will take to prevent future Electorial Primary malfescence?

Blucatt6 karma

No, not really. They don't really tell us that information, and with good reason. I don't see a need for them to.

yukithesmith36 karma

Can you vote?

Blucatt30 karma

Are you asking if I'm legally allowed to vote or if I am still allowed to vote given my affiliation with the election process?

Ranger_Aragorn20 karma

Latter

Blucatt60 karma

Then yes. There are two possibilities: you are working at your designated polling place, or you aren't. In the first case, you would just get up at any point in the day that you could and vote like a regular person would (probably with the other officers jokingly greeting you at the door or showing you how to work the machines). In the second case, you'd have to vote by absentee ballot, which is a whole other process in itself.

Iampissedoffaswell29 karma

Who do you think is going to win the election?

Blucatt77 karma

Clinton. Although given what I saw with the Brexit vote earlier this year, I guess anything is possible. I'm mentally preparing for each outcome, but overall I think Clinton has the best shot.

princeps_astra25 karma

What do you think about a candidate shedding doubt on the integrity of the election process, and his threats of not accepting the outcome ?

Blucatt54 karma

I don't think it's a very good idea. Our political system is based on the idea that we accept the results as true, even if we don't like them/plan to change it. A major candidate not accepting the results of an election enables the idea that the system is something that is okay to just disrespect like that, and it's not.

pussgurka15 karma

Do you have any tips for redditors voting for the first time?

Blucatt43 karma

Come early. Avoid those annoying long lines or people shoving stickers or pamphlets in your face. And don't come too late, either. Yes, we will send you away if you show up at 8:01.

Also, we are always happy to help first timers, to show them the ropes. In fact, every time a first time voter comes in, we say "first time voter!" And all the officers clap.

Ben_Douglass14 karma

What do you expect the atmosphere at the ballots will be? Tense? Calm? Eerie?

Blucatt43 karma

A mixture of all of those things. One thing is for certain: there is a LOT more pressure on me and the other officers than during the primaries. Unlike the primary elections, there's little margin for error, and there's a lot more that you have to watch our for. During the primaries you would rarely have lines, just a few people here and there with some buildup around midday, and there's little stress on each individual officer; we can even take breaks if we want to. But the general election is going to be completely different. We're expecting lines out the door, several attempts at electioneering/voter intimidation, and maybe even some media. I think "hectic" would be the best word to describe it.

Carlysed7 karma

What kind of area are you in? Since you are expecting such a mixed atmosphere.

Blucatt35 karma

I live in Delaware, which is a notably purple state. I've seen gun toting rednecks wearing camo and confederate flag bumper stickers, and I've also seen female millennials with dyed armpit hair and 'Feel The Bern' t-shirts.

jonjhawk13 karma

What made you decide to be an election officer?

Blucatt19 karma

Being a part of a significant part of American history is really appealing to me. The pay is a nice plus, too.

Tufflaw8 karma

I always thought it was volunteers. What's the pay if you don't mind me asking?

Blucatt13 karma

$50 for the training, $140 for the election day itself. So $190 total.

countertrollsource12 karma

What are your thoughts of holding the election on Tuesday? If you could choose when would you have it?

Blucatt13 karma

I'd most definitely have it on a Friday. Think about how I have it as an election officer. I already hate Mondays, and having to go to bed early to arrive at my polling place at around 7 a.m is even worse. Then, while everyone else gets the day off, I have to do my best to keep my eyelids open and perform all of my duties throughout the day. Then i finally get to head home at around 9 p.m, and since I have class the next day I either have to head straight to bed or face nodding off throughout the day. If we had it on a Friday, it'd be a 3-day weekend, I'd get to sleep in as I truly need, and it may lead to a higher turnout.

Nimbus200021 karma

"Everyone gets the day off?" Is that a Delaware thing? I don't know a single person who gets the day off to vote, in CA or SC (where I live now and where I'm from).

Blucatt9 karma

Wait...that's not a thing in other states? All students K-12 get the day off, and jobs often let you leave and come back.

quincho8 karma

What's the best part of your job?

Blucatt19 karma

Just the experience in general. In 20+ years I'll be able to look back and say that I took part in an actual part of American history. I feel so nice and official.

heliotrope3n7 karma

What's the craziest thing someone has said to you as they voted?

Blucatt14 karma

Probably "yeah I'm blind, can I use the handicapped voting machine?". I totally couldn't tell he was blind until he told me, I thought it was just old age.

zornathan6 karma

One of the biggest issues I have with how elections are run is the plurality vote, or only being able to select 1 candidate. It's what allowed Gore to lose when Nader "stole" his votes. It's how Trump ended up the Republican nominee because his opposition split their vote between several similar candidates.

How would you feel about approval voting? Do you expect it would change your job at all?

Blucatt6 karma

I've heard of that concept before, but I didn't know it actually had a name to it. Thanks for that information!

To answer your question, though, I think that would do us well, but being realistic I doubt that will happen any time soon. People in our country are afraid of progress, of change. It'll take some convincing along with some really strong advocacy. I don't think it's impossible, though.

beast33346 karma

What qualifications do you need to become an election officer?

Blucatt24 karma

Not as many as you might think. You need to be over 18, or a high school junior or senior with a signature from your principal. If you're fortunate enough for them to pick you, you go through a 3 hour training course before each election, and you have to have stayed for the entire class.

FrozenPyle6 karma

Have you ever heard of or witnessed anything along the lines minor or major election fraud from the people you work with or others who do the same job as you?

Blucatt28 karma

Not at all, really. All the people I work with are kind, hard-working individuals, most are seniors who want to help out with the democratic process. I personally have never witnessed any misconduct amongst my coworkers.

mtyn5 karma

Are you allowed to receive a small thank you gift, like a box of donuts?

Blucatt12 karma

Certainly. The officers are all allowed to bring snacks and stuff for us to eat throughout the day. I even ordered a whole stuffed crust pizza from pizza hut and no one batted an eye.

zeezl5 karma

I think he/she means (and I would like like to know) if we can bring in snacks for the officials.

Blucatt14 karma

Well there's no rules against that. But personally, if that happened to me, I wouldn't accept it. That kind of stuff seldom happens and I'd think it's pretty suspicious. That's just me though.

CaptainPedge5 karma

What is the process if someone turns up to try to disrupt things?

Blucatt14 karma

It depends on what they do. Last time we had a couple of ranting trump supporters demanding that the wife be allowed to wear her "Hillary for prison" shirt. There's an 'issues log' and any disturbances are listed there. If it gets too loud or bad, we call the Department of Elections and they dispatch someone if needed.

Ali_dahboss5 karma

What is the hardest part of your job?

Blucatt24 karma

Wow, that's a tough one. I'd say it's how well you have to compose yourself. You have to be the absolute best version of yourself--no slacking off or anything like that--from opening of the polls to closing. Being polite and courteous and fully alert for ~13 hours straight can really take a toll on you.

PipFoweraker4 karma

What elements of other voting systems (mechanical or procedural) would you really like to see adopted?

Blucatt12 karma

It'd be nice to reinstitute paper ballots. They're still available to some amount, but there's no legal requirement whatsoever. Many people refrain from voting as the process seems too convoluted, and this would help that issue.

socializm_forda_ppl3 karma

Can I bring a piece of paper that has all my votes listed? I did my research and figured everything on my ballot out, but I want to make sure I don't forget anything or anybody and check the wrong box. I swear I'm not senile, I'm just forgetful haha

Blucatt7 karma

Sure, I don't see why not. Although one of the more finnicky officers might ask to see the paper to make sure there's nothing negative written on there, e.g. some sort of code to try to hack the machine. If you don't tell anyone about it, though, there's nothing they can really do, as you're entitled to complete privacy in the booth while voting.

PB_Sandwich3 karma

Have there been any instructions related to Trumps call for election observers? My understanding is there are only two observers allowed at a polling place.

What can they do? How close can they get to me? If they're watching me vote and it makes me uncomfortable, are they required to leave? Just leave me alone?

I know some pretty hard core Trump supporters. What actions cross a line and are considered "intimidation?"

Blucatt13 karma

They teach you about that every time, actually. Those people are called "challengers". Either a candidate or a party appoints a challenger to each polling place. These people have a special table at the back, where they can monitor what goes on throughout the day. If they have any suspicion of misconduct, within reason, they can intervene and then we have to go through the protocol.

One things for certain, though. We would NOT let anyone, even a certified challenger, berate, annoy or deter any voter in any way. Any qualms they might have are taken to us, not the voters. If we see them bothering voters, we would document it on the issues log and possibly call the Department of Elections.

Cormel3 karma

I always thought this was a volunteer position. You are actually paid?

Blucatt6 karma

Yep. $50 for each training session and $140 for each election day. I suppose it counts as volunteering, though. They don't ask anyone to go, it's always voluntary.

this_is_your_dad3 karma

I always receive a mail-in ballot weeks in advance. Why do so many people wait in line on election day?

Blucatt3 karma

I'm not sure. I'd say it's easier, and it's seen as more efficient. Plus this is the way it's been done for a long time.

joeb11132 karma

How does the Soros/Clinton/Bilderburg network instruct you how to alter the results? Do you have to do this vote by vote as they're entered or do you wait until the precinct tabulation stage? Are you all sleeper agents executing independently or are you centrally controlled by a hivemind via corrupted wifi signals and chemtrails? What does the government know about your network's use of MCULTRA data to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids? What is BLACKBRIAR? Who's running TREADSTONE now? WHO'S RUNNING TREADSTONE???

Blucatt4 karma

The leader of the Department of Elections is a shape-shifting human/Lizard hybrid. His people are mind controlling all of the election officers and are getting us to tamper with the cartridges and get us to sway voters in whatever way they see fit. If you see this send help; and remember hats made out of tin foil are the only things that can protect you from their advanced mind altering technology.

first_order_general2 karma

due to how heated this election is are you guy's guarded by police this time around?ohIhopeheansewersnooneevernoticesmyIamaquestions.

Blucatt4 karma

Never fear, I pledged that if I ever was interesting enough to do an AMA that I'd answer every question possible.

It certainly is a possibility. I sure hope so, because last time around the trump supporters got especially aggressive. I can only imagine how bad it'll be this time.

engineerEFK2 karma

Thoughts on voting by mail?

Blucatt2 karma

I think it's pretty unorthodox, but others seen to approve of it, so I'm nobody to judge.

TRiG_Ireland2 karma

Blucatt7 karma

I wouldn't call it a bad idea, per se, but I do think we need some more options. Whenever there are electronics involved with anything, that leaves a lot of room for hacking and manipulation, more than ever before.

mindthegap922 karma

Thanks for what you do!

How much information can you provide to the media? As in, can you supply information if they ask you how many voters have showed up today, which party has the best showing, any incidents, etc?

Blucatt10 karma

We can give non partisan information (e.g. "How was the turnout today?" "How stressful was it today?") but nothing that would show biased toward any one political party (e.g. "Would you say there are more Democrats or Republicans today?" "What do you think about Mr. Trump's stance on the outcome of the election?").

slumliving2 karma

Aren't you supposed to get official approval from headquarters or something before doing something like this? I mean, can you speak in an official capacity?

Blucatt5 karma

Not to my knowledge, no. They would certainly mention it if there were any rules against it. There is some information I'm pretty sure I shouldn't disclose though, and im certainly not gonna do that

Jimenez12141 karma

How serious do you guys take the threats that were made by ISIS to "slaughter" anyone who votes? And what do you guys plan to do about it?

Blucatt2 karma

I haven't heard of these threats, actually. Do you have a link to an article?

That might actually be an issue. Under most circumstances I don't see them taking much action, but if the threat turns out to be formidable enough, then I would see them sending out a few police officers to help guard the place.

pathsofrhymes1 karma

I'm registered to vote in California but I'm currently away at school in New York. Is it too late to submit an absentee ballot at this point?

Blucatt3 karma

I'm not sure of the laws in those states, but it's worth a shot. Try calling around and seeing what they say; most people associated with the election are more than happy to help you.

Eggfish1 karma

[deleted]

Blucatt1 karma

This was answered in another comment. I'll see if I can find it for you.

Wilsam2391 karma

How do you think the result of the election will affect the world on an international scale?

Blucatt6 karma

Much more than I'd like to think about. I can't hep but wonder what my grandkids will think looking back at this election. It's so weird to think about.

4rch1 karma

Back in the 2012 election I saw a poll worker was helping a disabled person into the polling booth. The curtain was open, everyone in line could see and the poll worker asked, "Do you want to vote all Democrat?".

Was that legal? If not, what should I have done after I saw this?

Blucatt2 karma

That was absolutely NOT legal. You should have alerted one of the other poll workers or called the department of elections. I can see about 5 laws in there that were broken.

What was the response from the disabled man?

Setsand1 karma

After the polls close, what is the process of counting the ballots and reporting to the next up level? Also is it over for you after all the ballots are counted? You go back to your 9-5 after a day or so?

Blucatt3 karma

At the end of the day, at around 8:30 or so when the last people are done voting, that's when we start collecting the votes. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to disclose, but I will say there's a long and complicated process of collecting the votes from the machine. Then they're all loaded onto a cartridge, placed in a designated pouch, and taken directly to the dropoff location for tallying. After all the ballots are counted, all we have to do is shut down the machines, take down the signs, etc. and then we can go.

Setsand3 karma

I found this in a US gov site

How Computerized Ballots are Handled

With the newer, fully computerized voting systems, including optical scan and direct recording electronic systems, the vote totals may be transmitted automatically to the central counting facility. In some cases, these devices record their votes on removable media, such as hard disks or cassettes, which are transported to the central counting facility for counting.

So I don't think there is any secrecy on how you get the ballots from the machine.

Blucatt4 karma

It's more complicated than that, though. There's a validation process involved that requires hep from all of the officers.

EnigmaScientist1 karma

Have you ever seen someone try to cheat the system?

Blucatt3 karma

Like, have I seen someone try to vote multiple times, deter others from voting, pretending to be an official, etc.? No, I haven't personally seen that. But that stuff does happen on occasion, and I'm well equipped to handle that.

charonpdx1 karma

What do you think about vote-by-mail (like Oregon and Washington, where EVERY ballot is sent by mail, and can be mailed back or returned to a drop box) as the only means of voting?

Blucatt1 karma

That's a thing? There's no electronic voting machines or anything?

This is the first time I've heard about this, to be honest. I think that's outrageous. The voter turnout must be very terrible in those states. I'd advocate for, at the very least, a few polling stations spaced out throughout those states. But to have none at all? That's unbelievable.

TheDanimal7771 karma

As a registered independent, why was I not allowed to be hired to work this election? It seems in my jurisdiction, one must be registered as either a republican or democrat.

Blucatt1 karma

What area do you live in? The legality of that is questionable.

TheMalcore1 karma

I've seen people saying they wish to request paper ballots instead of using the voting machines. Are the election officials required to provide paper ballots?

Blucatt2 karma

I specifically asked this question during my most recent training session. No, we are not required to. I think it would be a good thing if it were the case, though.

PraiseKluex1 karma

How do you spend your lunch break?

Blucatt2 karma

Lunch break? What is that?

To answer your question though, we technically don't get a lunch break. We just get another officer to cover for us while we scarf down whatever we brought with us. It's actually only spent for eating, really.

victorykings1 karma

In your observation/opinion, do you think a paper ballot system is more or less secure than an electronic system?

I can think of pros and cons to each, but I'm curious to see what someone "behind the curtain" thinks.

Blucatt1 karma

I personally like the idea of a paper ballot system. It causes less problems and that's the way it's been done for years and years before. I think it should at the very least be an option.

DPKdebator1 karma

Do you believe that reports of voter fraud could seriously influence the official results of the election on Tuesday?

Blucatt2 karma

Possibly. The biggest thing I can see happening is that the official vote takes longer to come out as the votes are being verified or re-counted.

Aoae1 karma

What implications do you think this election will have on your job? (in the future)

Blucatt1 karma

I think it'll be a positive one. Taking part in the election process has a lot of positive implications. I think employers like to see this kind of experience under someone's belt.

N_Studios1 karma

What steps are taken to ensure that the election isn't rigged in any way?

Blucatt1 karma

This was already answered elsewhere, I'll see if I can find it.

satisfyinghump1 karma

What's your thoughts on the early Newsweek magazines being photographed by store employees with Hillary on the cover as the next President?

https://i.redd.it/jsg5btj9g2wx.jpg

Blucatt1 karma

Oh wow. That's really messed up, to be honest with you. That's undermining this country's democracy. It's not over till it's actually over; they have no right to make it look like she actually won.

ChesterPsyenceCat-1 karma

A lot of people in my circle online strongly believe that the entire voting system is a complete lie. Do you have an opinion on the public's recent reaction to the "leaked" NBC election results?

Is there anything obvious that you could point out to skeptics like this which would completely debunk any denial about the validity of national elections?

(Fun Side Fact: When I was 12-years-old, my father volunteered the two of us to be scrutineers at a poll in the 2004 Canadian federal election. I can't say that I was drawn to the work environment, but I am glad to hear that you really enjoy it!)

Edit: References for the NBC leaked results story:
Initial TrueActivist Article.
Update explaining situation. Election not rigged.

Blucatt3 karma

What is this about the NBC election results? May you send me a link so that I may form a more well-informed opinion?

Boris740-1 karma

Have you ever worked in a circus?

Blucatt1 karma

Nah, that would be cool, though. I work with animals sometimes and I like to please animals. It warms my heart.

primarilyreddit-18 karma

Why are you rigging this for Hillary? If not, why aren't you?

Blucatt4 karma

I personally couldn't rig the election even if I wanted to. It's a team effort, so to speak, and if anyone gets caught it's a serious federal crime.

I'm not for rigging the election, of course. I believe in this nation's democratic ideals and i want to uphold the principles that this country was founded on.

Edit: a word

carolathome2 karma

"Uphold"

Blucatt2 karma

Thank you so much.. I wouldn't have noticed that otherwise.