View Full Version : My New Hampshire Primary Experience

01-09-2008, 07:38 PM
Hi all,

Just thought I'd share a little about my day yesterday. I was a poll checker at Ward 5 in Portsmouth. The ward has approximately 3500 voters - we had a record turn out of approximately 2100 (give or take a few). McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Paul, Huckabee was the order in which the Republican candidates came in. Giuliani had 98/Paul 51. For the Democrats, Obama came in first with 766 votes and Hillary in second with approximately 420 (I don't have my numbers in front of me).

As for poll checking, there was myself and 5 Obama volunteers (who were relieved by different volunteers every few hours). The Ron Paul campaign could stand to learn a few things from the Obama people when it comes to volunteer organization. First off, the Obama poll checkers had bound, alphabetized lists of not only all the known Obama supporters, but of all the democrats and undecided voters in their ward. It was easy for them to keep a running ratio of how many of their known supporters showed up in comparison to the total number of democrats who had showed up at the poll. They were also able to easily track how the independents voted.

My list, on the other hand, while small - about 15 individuals - was not organized in any fashion. Since I had a small list this wasn't a problem, but it did make me question the thought-process of the campaign and regional branch managers. How hard is it to alphabetize an excel spreadsheet. But then again, over-sites happen.

The voter registration was split up into two tables placed across from one another (a-k) and (l-z). Each table was then split one more time so that there were four registration lines (a-d and e-k; l-r and s-z). I tried to keep an eye out for the individuals on my list, while at the same trying to keep an accurate count of the number of republicans who showed up to vote. As you can imagine, trying to keep an eye on both tables (which were across from each other) was a bit difficult. When there were lulls in voting registration, I would try to run the names on my list by the registration books, but the moderator at my precinct, while nice enough, did not like me talking to the registration volunteers. So I did the best with what I had to work with. The Obama team was able to seat one of their poll checkers directly behind each of the registration line, thus making their poll checking much more effective and efficient than mine. In the future, I'd suggest sending 4 Ron Paul volunteers to each precinct when possible - if all 4 were not necessary, 2 could stand out side and sign wave (relieving the poll checkers whenever necessary). In any case, at the end of the day, 7 people on my list showed up to vote - 4 of whom voted as Democrats.

Other things to note:
1) Ron Paul Sentiments.
When one undecided voter was asked how he would be voting, he stated "Republican, for the first time in my life. I have to support my man, Ron Paul." I couldn't help but smile. But then one of the registration volunteers turned around to me and stated, "That's sweet. I mean he has the best message of all the candidates, but he's just not elect-able." I wasn't about to start a debate with the registration volunteer, so I smiled and said, "We can at least try, can't we."

2) Undeclared, Actually Declared.
There was a good number of voters who showed up registered as one party or another, who swore (up, down, left and right) that they had undeclared themselves after the last time they voted - one woman, started screaming b/c she was so mad. She claimed that the very same thing happened to her the last time she voted, because of which, she made a conscious effort to go down to city hall to make sure she was registered as undeclared this time. In short, there were many people who wanted to vote for one party, but they couldn't because they were registered with the opposing party. These people were told that they could write their candidate's name in on the ballot, even if the individual was not with the party that the ballot was for. With that said, I overheard the registration volunteers questioning if these "write-ins" would actually be counted or not.

3) Absentee ballots.
There seemed to be problems with the absentee ballots - city hall had apparently forgot to send certain forms and/or type in party selections for a number of absentee voters - at least this is what I could discern from what I heard when I was sitting behind the registration table. Don't quote me on what the exact problem was, but I know that there were a number of questionable absentee ballots set aside. I do not know if this matter was resolved or if it was even a matter that would have had any major effect on the absentee voter's vote being counted or not.

4) Man vs. The Machine.
There were 3 ballots that could not be read by the machine. Several attempts were made by the moderator to resubmit the ballots without any success. It did not appear that these ballots were counted in the total. (Again don't quote me)

I was disheartened by the results - as I know many of you were/are. I'm still a little bothered by the results, mainly because I feel that the lack of organization on the part of the official campaign may have directly effected voter support/turnout for Ron Paul. I know some of the precinct drivers feel the same. My spirits were lifted, however, when I heard Dr. Paul speak last night. He reminded me why I was doing this - not so much for the vote, but for the message - we need to spread the message of freedom and restore our personal liberties, once and for all. There is a long road ahead of us and it's going to take a lot longer than the next 4 years to accomplish all that we want - we have to commit ourselves to the duration of the fight.

I hope this info is of help to those of you volunteering in upcoming primaries.


01-09-2008, 07:49 PM
thanks for the update leanne. as a poll checker, were you made aware of any recourse that is available were you to witness something "problematic"?

01-09-2008, 08:02 PM
In the letter that I received from the campaign it stated that if I experienced any problems with the precinct volunteers and/or the poll checkers from an opposing candidate's campaign I was to call the local headquarters and notify them. They made it clear that I was not to interfere with the voting process and/or the precinct volunteers' job, even if I were to witness something that I considered to be "fishy".

01-09-2008, 08:31 PM
so did you end of calling local headquarters regarding what you saw? it's seems that your items 2, 3 and 4 could warrant a call.

01-10-2008, 02:04 AM
i will pass this on

american empire
01-10-2008, 03:13 AM
thanks Leanne ...really respect the effort...I am concerned about 2) and how we can address that ....about the machine...well thats a pandoras box....so yeah thanks again....

please spread this.....