Pollworkers for Democracy (P4D) is a non-partisan, direct citizen action campaign built in response to broken elections and plummeting voter confidence. A coalition effort of Mainstreet Moms, VoteTrustUSA, Working Assets and many others, P4D taps into widespread election integrity concerns to recruit a new wave of informed - and observant - American pollworkers in the 2006 elections.
A few of us started talking about pollworkers in the middle of yet another electronic voting machines hearing in California's capitol. A recalcitrant Registrar was saying, "You have to weigh the transparency across the process." This sounded a lot like "catapult the propaganda," so I listened more closely. "We have public scrutiny: the press is right there on Election Day," he continued. Ah, the press. Not quite the scrutiny we're looking for. "Every piece of information doesn't need to go out to the public," he finally concluded, in something close to a whine.
Sometime later, I sat listening to a leading member of the election integrity movement say to a roomful, "The biggest challenge we face is the closed nature of the election officials community." So how do we open this thing up, I wondered. What do these officials need? Lawsuits are heavenly, but there must be ways to be useful to the more valiant officials as well. Not just the Ions [Ion Sancho, Leon Co., FL] and the Freddies [Freddie Oakley, Yolo Co., CA] and the Funks [Bruce Funk, Emery Co., UT], but the officials we don't hear about. Can we get in there, become a new piece of that culture, help them get their elections back to good?
So then the news went around about the average age of the American pollworker topping 72. It became clear that it's pollworkers those officials can use, and it's clearly pollworkers who can bring in real scrutiny. They're the first to be blamed when all goes wrong. They should be the first to report out when the disasters have nothing to do with "human error."
Because much like the climate crisis, the debate over electronic voting machines is long over. They're an across-the-board calamity for democracy, and a fiscal albatross for local governments everywhere. Put the machines aside, and we're looking at aggressive legislative maneuvers to restrict the franchise in state after state, with that wretched Voter I.D. law now lurching through Congress as well. Citizens see these tactics piled on to the abiding injustices of intimidation, caging and suppression, and recognize a fundamental assault on the mechanics of democracy. "But what can we do?" is the question. We can do a lot, is the answer, and a day at the polls is a piece of it. It's time to be outside and inside, it's time to be the diagnosis and the solution.
The more pollworkers we can all recruit and train together, the more information can come out of their November 7th experiences. Any data collected will be used to better inform media outreach, legal challenges where necessary, and key election reforms at the local, state and federal level. Pollworker observations will also be uploaded into the Election Protection Coalition's database to help build an accurate national portrait of this election overall...