The phone rang Thursday night, close to 9 p.m. It was the Detroit Board of Elections, wondering if I could commit, right now, to spending the next three Saturdays at the TCF Center (the former Cobo), doing election work for a reasonable hourly wage.
“What sort of election work?” I asked. “I’m only trained to work the election.”
“All I have is a list of names to call,” she said. “And I need a commitment tonight.”
What the hell, I figure I could use the money, now that the census is petering out. OK, I’ll be there. If the work was intolerable, I could always boot the two additional Saturdays.
As it turned out – and we didn’t learn this until we arrived – our job would be to process 40,000 absentee ballot requests. It also wouldn’t be over three Saturdays, but Saturday, Sunday, and as much of the upcoming week as we could manage. It all has to be done by Thursday. Whoa. So after some training and the inevitable technical difficulties, that’s how my weekend went – 16 hours of spelunking in the Michigan Qualified Voter File, checking signatures and assigning absentee ballots to those who asked for them. And I committed to five hours each evening this week, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Gotta get this job done, and I could use the Christmas money.
On the way in, after the temperature checks, they led us through the basement where the absentee counting board will be working. It’s already set up for it:
That is a big, big space. During the auto show, that’s where they put the exhibits where cars are actually driven. And it’s full, wall-to-wall. I figured my job would be done after we deliver the ballots to the receiving board on election night, and that it would be late – I already told my Deadline boss not to expect me before noon on Nov. 4. But it occurs to me this absentee counting could go on for several days. I might put my name in for that job, too; make hay while the sun shines.
All of which is to say, you might not see me much this week, evenings being my blogging time. Maybe we can arrange some photo posts, perhaps a gallery entitled, Nance uses a Windows computer for the first time since 1997. I believe that’s how long it’s been. I checked to see if the shutdown command was still Start, and it is; ah, good times. Don’t even get me started on the no-button PC trackpad, on which the left side of the thing functions as the left mouse button, but the line of demarcation isn’t clear, and not intuitive at all, and grrr. I lack the muscle memory for this OS, and I’m too old to learn.
In my time spent rattling around the QVF, I had spells when I could think about the governor and the kidnap plot. Fallout continues to rain from the skies on that, and will for some time. However, I’m grateful for the state ACLU spokesman for putting together this Twitter thread, which gives you an idea what it’s been like here since the pandemic restrictions started:
Grateful to have Lee Chatfield here to remind us who the real victim is: Lee Chatfield https://t.co/YCt2mN8TPg
— Joshua Pugh (@JPughMI) October 10, 2020
Lee Chatfield is the House speaker, who wrote an “open letter” to the governor over the weekend whining that she didn’t tell the legislature about the threats to the Capitol. The obvious reason: That’s the FBI’s job, not hers. The unspoken reason: Because it’s a fair bet they would leak that news to their lunatic networks, and the gang, dumb though they may be, would scatter. That takes some gall, when you think about it.
I’ve always said the open letter is the lowest form of column-writing, and also in communications in general. Isn’t this just right-wing virtue signaling, as they like to say? Seems that way to me.
If you’re not on Twitter, here it all is in one place.
So I’m off to consider dinner, and try to plan some chores around this overstuffed week. Be good to one another, and remember – voting absentee or by mail is your right.