First, let me make this clear - this isn't a blog post about why you shouldn't vote for Donald Trump for president. By now, you are locked into your decision, and nothing I say will convince you otherwise. Despite overwhelming evidence of Trump's inability to act professionally, he is choosing to remain in the race and will be debating Hilary Clinton for the final time tonight.
Today's blog post suggests positive action that you can take which supports Donald Trump.
(No, please don't close that browser....read on and you'll understand what I mean. There are no hidden insults here. I promise.)
Many times during the election, Donald Trump has suggested that people "sign up" to monitor the polls in order to avoid a "rigged" election. He has asked that you sign up at his website as an "unofficial" poll monitor. What I am recommending is that, rather than sign up to be an unofficial poll monitor, you consider serving as Election Judge for the Board of Election Commissioners.
Because if you think elections can get "rigged", you will learn about how polling places are set up and run...and ensure that your neighborhood polling place is run clean. (After Bruce Rauner was elected, I volunteered to be an election judge. Not only did I serve as an election judge for a primary election, I also wrote about things I learned after serving. For the record - my only agenda is to encourage greater participation in our process. Nothing more, nothing less.
One reason for Donald Trump supporters to consider serving as an election judge is obvious: in Chicago, we need more Republican judges. Having party balance can be critical for some areas of the city and suburbs, providing a healthy counterweight. If you think that the Democrats are going to "sway" this election, this would allow you to have a first-hand view without worrying that you'll be dismissed because you support Donald Trump.
(One nice thing about the process is choice: people choosing to serve as an election judge can opt to serve as Democratic or Republican judges....or allow the Board to decide their affiliation. But given Donald Trump's position as the Republican candidate, supporters will most likely opt for "Republican").
Secondly, there are procedures in place for the running of polling places. Every election judge has access to a handbook which outlines specific tasks and procedures. In fact, if you serve as an election judge - and you can sign up online - you should attend the mandatory training. Even if you can't make it this close to the election, your fellow election judges can provide insights and guidance. (Plus, you should consider downloading and reading the handbook even if you don't serve).
Yes, you do get paid for your time, and keep in mind - it's an all-day event. You'll need to be at your assigned polling place early for set up. Depending on your work, you may end up not getting home until late. (Past elections have seen me out the door around 4:30 am, and back home at 10:00 pm). But serving as election judge has taught me much about how elections are run...and why Donald Trump's suggestion that elections are "rigged" may be a bit overdramatic.
And for those who aren't willing to be election judges, but who want to make sure the election is "fair"...you can sign up as a poll watcher with the Board of Elections. Because despite what Donald Trump might suggest, running elections is not easy. Many people volunteer their time and deal with an increasingly complicated procedure. Accountability in elections is always encouraged, but you have to work at it.
Again, if you are interested in serving as election judge, simply sign up at https://chipollworker.com/
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And as always, thanks for reading.