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||To the polls,
By Dawn Witlin/ Chronicle Staff
Thursday, August 24, 2006
On Election Day, voting sites around the country don't have enough
But not in Cambridge.
Last Tuesday, a sneak preview of the PBS documentary "By the People"
was held at the Kendall Square Cinema. The 90-minute film profiles
challenges faced by voters and election workers nationwide.
The film reports that during the presidential election, the nation
suffered an estimated shortage of 500,000 poll workers.
According to a 2004 MIT/Caltech study, Massachusetts must recruit
more than 12,000 workers for each statewide election.
However, Cambridge Election Commission Director Marsha Weinerman
said Cambridge is brimming with election workers.
"We're working on the Sept. 19th primary as far as the poll worker
issue, we have a sufficient pool," said Weinerman. "Aside from the
pool that we have, when we send out the annual census there is a
pullout, so we have another source of interested people."
Poll workers do jobs such as assisting disabled persons who cannot
read a ballot for themselves; communicating with the election office
if a person's name is not on the voting list; and instructing voters
what to do if they accidentally punch the wrong bubble or vote "yes"
when they meant to vote "no."
Weinerman also contributes Cambridge's full election worker quota to
the fact that an hourly wage of $12 to $14 is paid to those manning
the polls on election day.
"By the People" is an important film because it shows the entire
election process, said Weinerman, who attended the screening.
"The film highlights how just how detailed and how much work is
involved in an election process," said Weinerman. "There a nice
sense of humor, and it really focuses on the people that elections
really rely on."
Want to become an election worker? Contact the Election Commission