Thursday, October 26, 2006
Today I went to my pollworker training class. Only they don't call us pollworkers, they call us judges. I suppose because we are responsible for judging whether a person may vote or not. Still, I don't think I'll be calling myself Judge Taylor any time soon. :D

The hours for a pollworker are pretty grueling -- 5:30 am until the votes are tallied, the voting machines taken down, and the ballots, memory cards, and paper record of votes are on their way to the central depot -- sometime well past 7:30 pm. I guess they just don't have enough workers to let people come in for six hour shifts or something. Of course, it also helps with security (reducing the possibility that the same person could vote twice) if you have the same people working all day.

I was impressed with the measures in place to make sure that everyone gets a chance to vote, and also to make sure that no one feels coerced to vote one way or the other. Judges, for instance, are not allowed to say anything about the issues on the ballot -- they can't explain them because their explanation might be prejudiced one way or the other, even though they try to be fair in their explanation. They aren't even supposed to recommend that the voter read the ballot initiatives which are posted before they head to the polling station; they can only inform the voter that the issues are posted if they are interested in reading them prior to the actual voting process. Signs and people supporting candidates have to be 100 feet away from entrances, and they aren't allowed to come within ten feet of voters outside of that 100 feet.

All in all, a very interesting look into a process most of us are not very aware of. It's too bad that more people can't do this; I think it would increase voter participation, as well as restore some confidence in the system.
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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