Thursday, December 13, 2012

What I Learned From The Elections Administration

Election season has come to an end and so has my job assignment at the Tarrant County Elections Center.  The work was not hard but the weeks that led up to the Presidential election were HECTIC, GRUELING, and often FRUSTRATING!  The work itself was mundane and repetitious. I miss my Sunshine (JM) and El Capitan (MS)! Hey Ladies!!
I met some pretty interesting people. I met people I liked as well as some I did not like, but hey that goes with the territory! I learned something about someone I know thought I knew, (*Sidenote* - when someone shows you who they REALLY are believe it!). I got to brush up on my data entry skills as well as polishing my customer service skills!
But most importantly I learned some things about the Texas voter registration process.  I never realized how much work is involved behind the scenes at election time. WOW! HAT TIP to the Tarrant County Elections Administration, You guys ROCK!

I processed hundreds of voter registration applications.
I assisted hundreds of customers on the phone and those I could not help I found someone who could.
I think what I learned about the system that was most interesting to me was that it really IS NOT about the system at all!  What I mean is, people were all hung up on voter suppression, and like sheep large amounts of people would hear something on the news or from another person and they would take that as truth.  Rather than finding out the laws for themselves, or doing the research themselves, if Sister So and So from the church said it well than it must be true. Or if Pastor So and So said it then it must be true. Or if they said it on the news, then it must be true. Or if it was posted on Facebook, then it must be true!

Is there a faction of people in America who are trying to keep others from voting? Likely YES!
Are there some people who were trying to pass laws to keep others from voting? Likely YES!
Is racism alive and well in America? Definitely YES!
Is EVERY problem with YOUR registration a voter suppression ploy from others? HELL NO!

Let me explain a few things to you...
Once you fill out a voter registration application, it goes to the elections building to be processed.  The process involves:

  • Date stamping (so you cannot call and say I mailed it in 3 months ago, the date stamp says differently!).
  • Imaging your signature (so that when you vote the signature on file is matched with yours the day of election so that no voter fraud can take place).
  • Scanning your application (So when you call we can pull up your original application).
  • Bar coding your application (So we can categorize, sort, and store all your information and find it when you call).
  • Your application is researched and verified (to make sure the card is filled out completely and correctly).
  • Data Entry (Someone has to input all of the information off your application into the computer system).
  • Sorted & Boxed (The hard copy you send in is kept, sorted, categorized, and boxed and then stored).

Once this entire process is completed your information is sent to the Secretary of State for verification (They check to make sure that the drivers license or other identification is indeed you, you know so that no voter fraud can take place.).
NOW, if the Secretary of State rejects your application, it is bounced back to the elections administration, who then in turn must send you a letter and then you have a certain amount of time to respond and in some cases you must go through the entire process again! If the Secretary of State accepts your application then the Elections administration sends you a card in the mail (Which YOU must check for accuracy).

So when you have THOUSANDS of applications coming in PER DAY, yes this process takes some time. THIS is why you must know the laws of your state! In the State of TEXAS your voter registration application has to be postmarked 30 DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION! (To see the registration deadlines for YOUR state go HERE). Some states like Rhode Island, New Hampshire & Wisconsin allow you to register the day of an election, BUT most states DO NOT ALLOW THIS.  Please find out about the process and deadlines of your state! Trust me, it takes a while for the entire process to run and for you to receive your Voter Registration card in the mail. Which reminds me... The elections administration DOES NOT CONTROL THE POST OFFICE, DMV, or HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES! It is YOUR responsibility to follow up and make sure that the elections administration received your information! DO NOT wait 4 years until a week before the next election and call saying that when you applied for food stamps you checked YES to register to vote, or when you got your license you checked YES to register to vote and you never received a voter registration card! REALLY!!! After 4 YEARS, NOW you want to call and check on it?? Well you are likely NOT registered and NO you cannot vote, and if by some chance you badger the election worker into letting you vote it will likely NOT count!

For the record, hundreds of application are rejected because:
The form was NOT completed correctly or fully. (YOU did not answer all of the questions)
The form was NOT legible. (The data entry clerk could NOT read your handwriting and had to guess, your 4, 7, & 9s all look alike, your cursive i and e look alike, etc so we had to guess!)
The information did not match. (You wrote Mookie on the application but according to the social security number your name is not Mookie, so you are REJECTED!)
Wrong person. You named your son after your husband and neither has a middle name and you did not put Jr. or Sr. on the application, so the information was accidentally mixed! (Yes this happens!)
Interposed numbers. If you were born in 1956, slow down and write 1956 not 1965! (YES, THIS HAPPENS A LOT!)
When the application says Middle Name DO NOT put your Maiden, Last, or Former name in this spot! (Your name is NOT John Wilson Wilson!).
STOP getting mad at the workers when your application is rejected!

Do not get this wrong, I am NOT saying that Voter Suppression is not a real and valid issue BUT what I AM saying is that WE DO NOT NEED VOTER SUPPRESSION LAWS BECAUSE WE ARE SUPPRESSING OUR OWN VOTES!

Useful Hints & Tips...
REREAD what you wrote.
CHECK for errors.
FOLLOW UP (If 2-3 weeks have passed and you heard nothing call and follow up).
DO NOT rely on a third party agency to register you! GO to the post office yourself, or GO to the elections building yourself to hand deliver your application.

Okay! That Is All! (Get YOURSELVES Together People!)
Peace & Love All!

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1 People Saying Something!


I love it, I love it, I love it. This was such good information. Noone has ever explained all of this to me and countless others - THANK YOU!
As for the people who see voter surpression behind every voting bush; lol; that is just like the people who blame slavery/racism everytime they lose a job. They never blame the fact that they were always late, or always complaining, or never doing the job correctly, or had a bad work ethicattitude (you know, just plain Lazy). So we will always have people who would rather blame someone or something else rather than checking out what they might be doing wrong.
Excellent post!

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