We’ve asked some of our long-time poll workers to share their stories as part of our poll worker spotlight series. Throughout the years, Alicia Alto has made great memories serving her community as a poll worker, and encourages everyone who is able to try it out. Continue reading to learn more about her experience and see what it’s like to work the polls.
How long have you been serving as a poll worker?
What brings you back each year?
The feeling and knowledge that my participation in election facilitation is an important role in our society’s success.
What are some of your most memorable moments as an Election Official?
As a Voting Location Manager, I have great memories of meeting new precinct election officials (PEOs) who are working for the first time – and then seeing them return at the next election. I also love hearing from other PEOs who have been working for longer than I have even been able to vote. A lot of folks take great pride in their role in election facilitation.
What is your favorite part about being an Election Official?
My favorite part of being an Election Official is meeting like-minded individuals who also feel a sense of responsibility to do this civic duty. There is great opportunity to learn from their experiences, both in regards to working an election and in regards to life outside of the election.
I also love meeting and seeing regular/return voters. They care so much about the community. It’s very encouraging.
Describe the energy at polling locations on Election Day.
There are many different vibes throughout the day. In the morning, there is a sense of urgency to get the location operational for voters.
During the “rushes” where many voters show up at one time, there is a very focused atmosphere. Everyone is ready and willing to help voters exercise their right to vote.
During the lulls in voter activity, there is a lot of friendly conversation and joking between PEOs. It keeps the day entertaining.
At the end of the day, there is a great sense of accomplishment – We made it through the election! It’s followed by a surge in energy while everyone works together to get the polls closed up so that we can get home.
Why is being an Election Official important to you?
It is very important to me that I do what I can to make a difference. I do volunteer and donate when I am able, but working the elections is a great way to serve my community in a way that addresses their fundamental right to speak their mind through the voting process.
Did you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day? Can you describe this?
Yes. The Election Day is a very long but very important day. Sometimes the day throws you a curve ball and sometimes everything runs more smoothly than you could ever imagine – but either way, it’s a great feeling to know that you’ve been a huge part of the voting process for folks who care to speak their mind and rock their vote in an attempt to affect change in our society. The right to vote is so important and I enjoy feeling like I’ve helped others to exercise that right.
What is it like to know you made a difference in our electoral process?
It’s a great feeling. I think that a lot of Americans take their right to vote for granted, but that doesn’t render it any less important. The more that I am involved and the more that I encourage others to be involved, the greater the difference I am making.
Why, in your opinion, should others become Election Officials?
It is a new experience with great opportunity – opportunity to meet others, opportunity to make a difference, opportunity to make money, opportunity for a change of pace. I think everyone should work at least one election. I think many would even return!
We are now accepting applications for poll workers for the May 8 Primary Election. To be considered for this honorable service, please apply online or call 216-443-3277 for more information.
To view all of the stories in our poll worker spotlight series, click here.