Within The Walls Of This Suburban Polling Place, I Am God

Janet Peaslee
Poll Worker

Election Day is once again upon us. After another four years, the time has come for our nation to choose its leaders, and it is important that each of us is adequately prepared for the task. Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind as you head out to cast your ballot: Know which voting district you’re registered in, know the hours your voting location will be open, and know that within the bounds of this suburban polling place, I am God.

Kneel before my infinite might, voters of Ward 39, Precinct 142!

From my seat of power behind this plastic folding table, I rule over all I survey, a domain that stretches from the double-door entrance of the Harker Middle School gymnasium to the pushed-in rows of bleachers at the back. Everything bathed by the harsh fluorescent lights gleaming from above is mine, for I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Keeper of the Voter Registry Printout and the Giver of “I Voted” Stickers. All who live between Maple Rose Avenue and Tenby Terrace and are eligible to vote must count themselves as my subjects.


Do not dare question me! From the time you pass the Harker Wildcats logo on the baseline until you exit through the door by the boys’ locker room after submitting your ballot, my word is law. I am all-powerful, I am almighty, and I alone hold sway over everyone and everything in this kingdom.

Unless your last name begins with a letter between L and Z. In that case, Carol will be assisting you.

I am the Supreme Being, the Godhead, the one who procures provisional ballots and bestows them upon all who enter my dominion unprepared. I alone determine whether you may use a utility bill with your home address as a valid form of ID. You are under my divine rule, so bow before me, your lord and sovereign! Then please sign here in this three-ring binder so I can confirm your signature matches the one you provided on your voter registration form.

Remain behind that blue piece of tape on the floor until a voting booth becomes vacant, or you shall feel my wrath! Do not forget that I will be your ruler when the blazing sun raises its head in the east, until I lock the front doors, help stack the chairs, and hand off your sealed ballots to the appropriate local officials.


But fear not, my children! No, no! For I am a gentle master. A kind overlord who shall humbly provide each voter with a pen whose ink is suitable for reading by an optical scanner. A benevolent god who will distribute clipboards to those in need of a firm writing surface. I will even bequeath my boundless knowledge upon those lost souls who know not where to deposit a completed ballot.

But do not cross me by bringing campaign materials into my realm or within 100 feet of its borders!


Should you commit such an offense against my authority, then by the power vested in me by the election board of Contra Costa County, I shall banish you to the parking lot without hesitation or remorse.

And unless you wish to feel the full force of my fury, please refrain from smoking until you have exited school premises, as this campus is a tobacco-free zone. Thank you.


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