Today I had my first getting-ready-for-work day that in fact wasn’t. Meaning, I wasn’t getting ready for work under the old definition of that word.

For the first time since I left my job, I got up in the 6’s, ran to the grocery store (I’m a weird morning person that way) and then showered, dressed and ran to the corner to catch the bus, only to wait and start stressing when 5 minutes became 7 became 11 until the bus arrived. Then, because this is DC and it was the morning rush hour commute, I found the Cleveland Park platform packed because of delays on the Red Line. (I had checked my Metro app for alerts—none. Not very helpful.) More stress.

I was about to be late. And I had been warned not to be late.

I was re-joining morning rush hour for the first time to attend the 9.30 am Check In Clerk training. That’s me: a Check In Clerk! I’ve been involved in Election Protection since 2004 when I spent a week in Ohio coordinating the state’s seven legal command centers. I have learned many things could cause long lines at the polls: equipment problems, ridiculously long ballots or poor election workers. In the past ten years, I have trained and coordinated hundreds of lawyers and law students who volunteer to spend the day outside the poll stations or at hotlines to help voters exercise their rights. And I’ve always wondered, “Would things run better if these lawyers were inside serving as poll workers instead?”

Now I will find out because for the first time, I’m going to spend the day as a poll worker.

As someone who has taught a training or two, I was impressed with the DC Board of Elections session, which included practicing a number of times. I got very good at the process, which starts: “Good morning! May I have your first and last name please?” and ends: “Would you like a paper or electronic ballot?” The training finished with a timed test in which we had to check in a number of voters. (I got a figurative gold star for best time in the class—yay me!) We all also got BOE reusable shopping bags, DC being one of the first jurisdictions to impose a plastic bag tax, and nice quality bags at that.

BOE election training swag

BOE election training swag

(Public Service Announcement: it is not well known that DC has same-day registration, so if you live here and want to vote here, you can. Just be sure to bring a valid ID.)


I concluded the day by attending a debate between the top three DC mayoral candidates hosted and being broadcast live by our public radio station, WAMU 88.5, and held at NPR’s swanky new national headquarters.

Mayoral debate swag

Mayoral debate swag

I had hoped to leave the debate clearer about whom to support, but no such luck. The debate was contentious and rancorous, heavy on sound bites and accusations but light on details. If any DC peeps have made up their mind, feel free to contact me and let me know who your choice is and why.

All in all, a great day bookended by doing my civic duty.*


* When reading columns or other blogs, or even listening to stories on NPR, I often cringe at the closing because it is some quip or attempt at a joke. Now that I’m writing blog posts, I have a lot more sympathy for other writers. Winding up these things is hard.