It was my first election as a poll worker and there I was, sitting next to this little old lady who had been a poll worker for years. Her job was to find the voter’s name and have them sign the roster. My job was to cross the person’s name off the secondary street index, and hand them their ballot.
So here comes a voter:
“May I have your name?” the old lady asks sweetly.
“Katherine Stanton,” the voter says.
“Huh?” the old lady says, cocking her head. “What was that? Sampson?” Her hands hover uncertainly over the roster.
“Stanton,” the voter repeats, more loudly.
“Phantom?” the old lady asks incredulously. “Your last name is Phantom?”
“It’s STANTON, Katherine STANTON,” the voter practically shouts.
I’ve already found her name in my index, and I’m starting to lean helpfully towards the old lady. “Stanton,” I say loudly and clearly into her ear. “S.”
“Oh!” the old lady says, brightening, and starts flipping confidently through the roster.
I feel relieved. I flash the voter a smile as I watch the old lady turning the pages. We got it now! Then I start to worry again. What’s she doing? She’s searching the F’s.
“Framptom, Framptom,” she’s muttering to herself.
I edge closer. I can’t help it, my fingers are on her roster, gently moving her fingers aside, turning a big chunk of pages to get to the S’s. “It’s STANTON,” I say again. “Here, S.” I start perusing the names, my finger tracing down the page.
The old lady looks offended, leans back, stares at me with open hostility. “Do you want to sit here and do this job?” she asks me coldly.
I hastily withdraw, babbling an apology. No, no, no! I’m so sorry! I’m just… trying to help…
The voter and I exchange unhappy looks. And together we wait as she finally, finally finds Stanton, Katherine Stanton, and politely asks her to sign above her name.
I hand over the ballot with relief. Whew! That was hard.
The next voter steps up.
“May I have your name, please?” the old lady asks sweetly.
“What? You peed your pants?” the old lady exclaims loudly.
And the whole room turns to look at the poor guy’s crotch.
It was a long, long day.