Q&A with an Oklahoma County Poll Worker
Agent Spotlight: Peter Fulmer
Peter has been with Verbode for 8 years and has worked in real estate for most of his life. He spends time away from work as the Board Chair of PIVOT, A Turning Point for Youth and dealing with the messes made by his two young adult children.
Peter claims his interests are “pretty pedestrian… golf, travel, and dining out with friends. And I can’t freaking wait for live music to start again.”
To get in touch with Peter about local real estate, or how you can help end homelessness in our city, you can email [email protected].
What inspired you to become a poll worker/ How long have you been doing it?
In these days of change, we have all been called to look around us and see what we can do to make the world better and more inclusive to all our citizens. Back in April, as I pondered what my space was in this movement, a group I follow and support, Let’s Fix This sent an email around explaining that elderly poll workers were fleeing in droves, and it was possible there would not be enough people to keep every polling place open.
Bingo, I can do that. It can be argued the most vital and wide ranging change agent we have available to us is voting, and it's just as vital that each and every voter get the opportunity to exercise that right. So the polls gotta stay open, right? I called the Oklahoma County Election Board and “volunteered.” They pay you, but its not enough to make it feel like an actual job, maybe that's my privilege showing, $100 or so. I’ve got two election days under my belt now, and on the last one I was the Inspector, which means I was in charge of the polling station. I’m looking forward to November. It’s such a massive election, and I feel a freaky sense of pride that I will help make it happen.
What did training for this position look like?
Lots of internet videos, and some hands on training at the election board. It wasn’t a big deal really. Most of it is pretty common sense, and procedural, so its mainly knowing how to cross all the t’s and dot the i’s.
Has on-boarding changed in response to COVID-19 precautions?
Well, I started because of (and during) COVID so I can’t really answer that, but I can say the election board is not fooling around with their efforts. SO MUCH HAND SANITIZER!
What does a typical election day look like for you?
Get up EARLY and if you are an inspector, you have been to the election board the day before to collect your supplies, otherwise you simply meet at the polling place by 6:15am. Set up all signage, voting booths, and all that stuff you see when you go vote.
Get the machine set, booted and ready to tabulate, and then settle in as polls open at 7am. The last election I did was a Republican only ballot with only two votes, both run offs. We had 29 people all day, so it was sloooow, but we helped about 20 more find their polling place, get properly registered and understand their options come November.
After the polls close at 7pm, pack up all the signage and everything you put up. Run the reports on the tabulations, seal the ballots in a special box with a seal all three workers have to sign, and take it all back to the Election Board. It's a 6am-8pm day at least, but without us, no voting, no rights. Right? It's worth it.
What's the best part about working the polls?
Helping people. Its my favorite thing to solve problems like “Where is my precinct?” or “My last name changed.” Its fun to help people, so that's the part I dig the most.
For someone who's thinking about becoming a poll worker, who should they contact?
Call the County Election Board in your county and simply tell the person that answers, “I want to work in a poll station. Can you help me?” and they will be delighted (DELIGHTED!) to direct you.
Any interesting or unique stories?
Nothing outstanding so far, but I am waiting for November. It is fun to see how some people dress. They have campaign shirts, masks, hats… capes, yeah capes… people are the most interesting thing in the world and they never fail to entertain.
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