An Inclusive Litany

11/8/02

In a November 7 article on the American Prospect Online, Adam Christian recounts his experience as an election poll worker in Los Angeles County:
Around 10:30 a.m., two black women, Betty and her daughter Jacqueline, arrived as replacements for the delinquent election clerks. An interesting dynamic unfolded once they showed up: Whereas I had been running the entire operation by myself, the three of us set up an assembly-line system in which a voter would first sign the roster with me, then tell his or her address to Jacqueline, and finally return the ballot to Betty. Despite my proximity to the entrance of the polling place, many black voters would bypass me and address themselves directly to either Betty or Jacqueline. Betty leaned over to me at one point and joked, "They're afraid of you. They're thinking, 'Talk to the black people.' " After this experience, it is much easier for me to understand the racial politics of voter intimidation. I would not describe myself as physically imposing, but apparently the mere presence of a white person at the polling place was enough to make some voters feel uncomfortable.

No comments: