A Poll Worker Explains Why the Process Isn’t Rigged

Donald Trump has been claiming for days that the election is “rigged” and that mass fraud is not only possible, it’s already happening. A quite different perspective came a few weeks ago in a post by Arizona poll worker Sarah Harrison. She explains the reasons the system isn’t rigged:

Polling places aren’t neutral because of law enforcement or government presence — though the Department of Elections does structure and oversee the process. Instead, voting spaces are kept neutral by other citizens, everyday people who agree to staff precincts. There is a small stipend involved, but given the long hours, money isn’t a huge motivator. Most poll clerks and inspectors are, essentially, volunteers. Other countries — Mexico, for example — compel citizens to staff the polls through a random lottery much like jury duty. The U.S. manages to find thousands of citizens freely willing to sit for hours and facilitate the process.

She concludes:

When Donald Trump and others insinuate the process is “rigged,” they aren’t really talking about the process; they’re talking about the outcome. Though it seems contradictory, running a polling place has nothing to do with the results, and everything to do with protecting a fair and open process. The “poll worker mission” is simple and very clear: to protect voter rights, serve voters with respect, and offer assistance. “On Election Day,” my manual instructed, “You will take an oath to perform your duties to the best of your ability.” In a time as politically polarized as this current election cycle, when everyone has an opinion to share, poll workers promise to put aside their political views for a single day and help people cast their ballots.

The piece was published by Zócalo Public Square, a website affiliated with Arizona State University. Read the full piece here.

Jessica Huseman

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There is no act more central to a democracy than voting. Electionland is a project that will cover access to the ballot and problems that prevent people from exercising their right to vote during the 2016 election.

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