Election Day in San Francisco

One of the things I most love about meeting people is hearing about all the niches I unconsciously knew existed but had never thought about before. That decorating the interiors of boats is a job people have. That competitive boomerang throwing is a thing. And most relevant to me today, from 3:00 in the morning as a matter of fact, that it takes a lot of people to run an election.


I mean, of course it does. I’d just never thought about how they do it…until I signed up to help. Today, I’m running the election.


SF electionOkay fine, I’m an insignificant cog in San Francisco’s system, but still. Hours before this blog posts, I’ll gather in the predawn quiet, morning-people colleagues talking, others not, everyone with coffee breath, and begin roughly 20 hours of work. Did someone say overtime?


Part of the reveal of this finite employment has been the contradictions. A manager who seems kinda scatterbrained until you realize he’s maneuvering an elaborate and complicated apparatus with truly remarkable skill, all while remembering everyone’s name (whether they worked the last couple years or not) and rattling out endless info in whatever language the person needs it.

San Francisco City Hall

Please excuse the crummy phone photo snapped on my way past, but when you have homeless people sleeping in front of City Hall of a prosperous city…it’s time to pay attention.

There seems to be both too many and too few people, too little and too much work. On Saturday, five of us were there to check people in. Except really only one of us was doing anything, just the one roster, while the other four competed to help whenever an instant of usefulness appeared. But after a long 10 hours of work have gone by today and I realize I’m only halfway there? That moment will undoubtedly feel drastically understaffed.


Contradictions in the election itself, too. Learning about the safety procedures has made me much more confident in the security of our elections. The ballots, that is. But outside the polling place, on our screens and in our eyes, is a confounding absence of honest information that makes me wonder at the usefulness of decisions made by the ill informed.


But my concern today is the mechanism of voting. Just that. So that’s what I’ll do. From 4:00 to midnight. Enough time for one more contradiction, because I’m both relieved to have a good job for the day…and really wishing I could sleep through the first half.


Happy voting, San Francisco!