Last night, I joined Amanda down in Santa Clara where she was managing a vote collecting station for the Registrar of Voters (RoV). (For those not in CA, we had a special election yesterday.)
I really enjoyed myself and was thoroughly impressed with a number of things.
First of all, Amanda's a great leader. She was the manager of the entire operation last night. Her crew was largely hand-picked by her from people she knows from work, home, etc. and - as far as I understand it - her crew was also largely brand new to working for the RoV. Regardless of having 15 or so completely inexperienced people milling frantically around with a County's votes, everything went smoothly. There weren't any problems - big or little - and everyone seemed to always know what it was they were supposed to do. Manda handled it all quickly, efficiently, and professionally. I'm very proud of her. It's rare that I get to see her in any kind of a work situation. I'm really glad I had that opportunity last night.
Secondly, I was really impressed with how organized the entire Registrar of Voters machine is. I've never given the process of voting much thought before: mark the sheet, put it in the privacy sleeve, slide it into the box. That was the end of my involvement and the end of my apparent interest in what happens to my vote. As far as I knew, the box itself counted all of the votes.
Anyway, it was cool to see more of the process. Confidential bags of votes come in, things get sorted into different piles, all of the precincts are tracked on a big white board, lots of people are working in well-organized collaboration to get everything sorted into the right areas before the votes are then trucked off again to a larger sorting location. All along the way, there are people with specific jobs handling very small, very specific tasks. And yet, it's in combination that all of these little tasks get everyone's votes delivered into the right hands.
The last few elections have gone a long way towards doing their best to disenfranchise me and make me loose all faith in the democratic process. Last night reversed that a great deal. Or, I guess you could say, franchised me?
Anyway, it was a good night. Rooni, thanks for asking me to be involved.