Cos (cos) wrote,

the process is full of people

I love going back to city hall to collect signatures I've turned in. There's that satisfying sense of accomplishment, seeing most of them certified with red checks, and the total number - particularly when, as in 2004, I could see when my public policy question qualified for the ballot in a few districts just by looking at the sheets I'd just collected. Today wasn't like that, as I only collected about a hundred from Somerville and Medford towards the 5,000 John Bonifaz needs to get on the ballot; statewide, our volunteers collected over 10,000, so mine are a very small piece of it. But I also love the way it demystifies the election machinery, shows the human element, and makes it all seem connected.

Today in Somerville,
    There are still some other papers here for Bonifaz that haven't been picked up.

    Oh, who turned them in?

    Hold on, let me look...
    Patrick Keaney...
    Oh, I know him
    ... and Lesley Phillips. I know her too. I'll mention it to them.
    Thank you!
I flip through the nomination papers I turned in, looking at the red checkmarks next to nearly every name, signifying that they were certified. There's a red N next to one of them: "not a voter"
    *blink* Carolyn Croissant isn't registered???

    Not at that address, she isn't

    [It's definitely the right address] This is the right address, and I know she voted.

    What's the address again? [I read it to them]
    We have her at [other address] Yeah, that's where she used to live. She moved last year.

    [Briefly, I consider whether she might not have updated her registration, but then I remember a conversation in which we lamented that she couldn't vote for Rebekah Gewirtz because she'd moved from ward 6 to ward 7]

    Yeah, we show she moved, from [new street] to [old street]

    No, you have it backwards. She moved from [old street] to [new street]. I helped her move!

    Huh... we show her changed to [old street]... in April. Maybe it's from the city census.

    [She asks another elections employee to look up some papers]

    Yes, here it is, the change is from the city census. Maybe we misread it.

    Maybe it got sent with her old address pre-printed, and forwarded in the mail, and you saw the printed address?

    Yes, I bet that's it. We'll look for her registration card and fix it.
Two years ago, the civil liberties ballot question I initiated here in MA got 197 certified signatures in one of the districts we tried to get on the ballot, out of 200 required. The volunteers there knew some of the people who had signed and not been certified, and brought three of them to Pittsfield city hall to identify themselves and vouch for their signatures, and we got on the ballot in that district.

P.S. ablock, your signature didn't get certified because the way you write a "9" looks like a "7" and they looked for your name at the wrong address :)

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