Braving the rain, Inyo County voters stream to the polls
County poll workers kept busy
Battling through a day of persistent rain, Bishop voters streamed to the polls on Tuesday.
The Home Economics Building at the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds saw a good flow of voters through noon on Election Day, poll workers stationed at nine precinct tables reported. The crew at the Paiute Professional Building also saw voters arrive and vote in person during the 2022 Mid-Term Election. Both polling places saw a good number of voters dropping in to just drop off their completed ballots in person.
While close to 60 volunteer poll workers staffed the warm, well-lit tables in the building, the prize for the Toughest, Most Dedicated Poll Workers had to go to Richard Inanniello and Janai Lind. The two were bundled up and seated under a popup shelter at the entrance to the fairgrounds, where they braved blowing rain and chilly temperatures.
They greeted voters and provided directions to the cozy warm polling stations inside the building. Other voters just dashed though the noontime rainstorm, ducked under the shelter and put their completed ballots in the drop box in front of the intrepid pair of volunteers.
As the wind and rain rattled the little pop-up tent, Ianniello shrugged at the hardship: “We have a fire in a barrel.” Indeed they did, and it was putting out some welcome heat. Later in the evening, the wood fire cast a nice glow on the entry area.
At the precinct tables
Voters entering the Home Economic Building were greeted by a long line of voting booths and tables on each side of the building, with each table representing a precinct.
The first table, Precinct 101, was staffed with a perky set of poll workers.
“We’re trying to have the most fun,” said volunteer Kelli Brown.
In addition the group was trying to win the “Most Popular Precinct” trophy, which they already had at their table and proudly displayed. While explaining why they were so popular, reasons which included having a basket of Snickers candy bars on their table, the group was interrupted by Kevin Bigham, who declared his group of volunteers at the 112 Precinct table would win the alleged prize.
Everyone was in a pretty good mood, in other words. That was impressive since they had been greeting voters since 8 a.m. and had actually been at their posts about seven hours by lunchtime.
Some joined other volunteers who arrived at the building the night before to set up the voting booths and lay out the tables. The poll workers started their Election Day shift at about 6:30 a.m. The poll workers’ morning tasks included setting up and decorating their respective tables, collecting lists of registered voters in each precinct, and getting instructions on handling ballots and a bit of coaching on how to respond to complaints or
other “suggestions,” said Lynette McIntosh, the election inspector who has volunteered on Election Day for “at least 20 years.”
The volunteers at the 102 Precinct table boasted the best candy bowl of the day, with a mix of candy bars, hard candy and solid chocolates. The 103 Precinct table was not impressed with the candy sweepstakes and was a bit stingy. “No candy for you unless you vote,” they told an observer. Moving on to 105 and a bowl of solid chocolates took the sting out of the 103 “no.”
Unfortunately for those who wanted a sweet reward for in-person voting, the rest of the tables only offered some salt water taffy in red, white and blue wrappers, mints in USA wrappers, and an occasional bowl of sad little hard suckers that looked like Halloween leftovers.
The rear of the hall won the “food” vote, in a landslide. As is a custom in Inyo County, the poll workers declare Election Day is also Pot Luck Day. The food feeding the volunteers included a huge tray of cheese, salami, ham and crackers, an angel food cake, cookies, chips, a couple boxes full of little “slider” sandwiches, and a few slow cookers. Stepping around the corner revealed trays of pastries and more than a few pizza boxes.
The volunteer poll workers’ dedication and commitment was, once again, a high point of the day.
McIntosh praised the volunteers. She noted it took about 60-70 people to staff the building, counting those who worked the set-up on Monday and the Election Day crews. She pointed out that each precinct table had five poll workers. That allowed them to always have at least two if not three people at the table at all times to stay with the ballot boxes and other election materials.
She also said Inyo County Clerk and Recorder Danielle Sexton had done “a great job” in providing clear election information to voters and giving poll workers all the tools and training they needed to manage the inperson voting.
McIntosh added that the poll workers are at their posts from 6:30 a.m. until the polls close at 8 p.m., then they put in another hour to 90 minutes wrapping up the polling place. That only happens when all the ballots and other election materials are secured and then transported to Independence where another team of volunteer election workers will tally the results, she noted.