Being an election worker on the day of an election can be very rewarding. I did it a few years back, and had many experiences and stories. But one in particular stands out.
I was working at the Homer Chamber of Commerce, and it was sometime in the latter part of the day when a young woman came up to me and wanted to vote. I checked to see if she was on our register and if she had proper identification. It all checked out. I was about to give her the ballot, when she turned to me and said, “I don’t know who or what I am going to vote for.” She then asked me if there was anything she could use to help her with knowing how to vote. I reached for the Kenai Peninsula Borough voter pamphlet that is mailed out each year right before the election, and told her this is a good resource to use to help her. (As a side note, it is discouraging, when I walk into the Homer post office on the day the pamphlets arrive, and many of the pamphlets have been discarded and lying wasted in the building.) She took it and I noticed her sit in one of those nice comfy chairs that is in the chamber.
I forgot about her, and it must have been about an hour or so later, when she came up to me and said she was ready to vote. So, I had her sign her name in the voting register, rechecked her ID, and gave her the ballot.
She didn’t know ahead of time who or what she was going to vote on. She wasn’t influenced by banners, family, friends or various forms of media — no preconceived notions; just what had been written in the pamphlet. At first when she came in to vote I thought how unprepared she was to vote that day, but afterward I realized how mistaken I had been.
Every vote counts and all voices matter!
Alex Koplin is a founding member of Kenai Peninsula Votes.