I am one of 300 volunteers monitoring the polls this morning under the direction of Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation. I just finished a six hour morning shift in a working-middle class precinct where the suburbs Tempe, Chandler, and Mesa merge in the southeast Phoenix metro area. I am on a short lunch break before I head to a local state Democratic Party office to GOTV for the remainder of the day, but I wanted to share a few observations.
More below the orange scroll.
1) No True The Vote people: There wasn't even a Republican party poll monitor. The U.S. Justice Dept. did send a team to Arizona, but thankfully they weren't needed at my percent this morning. The voters were of mixed races, ethnicities, and ages. Hard to tell what the Dem to Rep ratio would be, but I'm certain it's better for team blue than my precinct in Scottsdale.
2) There was a steady stream of people, always someone there, but we never got backed up. When I left, almost 200 ballots had been scanned into the machine and one of the poll workers estimated that there were easily another 150 to 200 ballots in the provisional ballot box and the drop off box for mail in ballots that didn't get mailed in in time. I wasn't really impressed with the numbers, but the poll workers there had worked this precinct in 2010 and they said this was a very good number and at this rate, when the afternoon rush starts at 2:30 pm, they would wind up with three to four thousand ballots. In 2010, they had about 1200!
3) More minorities and young voters wound up casting provisional ballots. This was usually due to the address on their driver's license (most used acceptable form of required voter ID) not being the address where they currently live and are registered to vote. In that case, the voter must then show another form of ID proving their residence listed on the rolls. Most voters came prepared with either their car registration, a bank statement, or utility bill. The good news for team blue, four of the five voters who didn't have the corroborating address ID left, but came back a short time later with what they needed to vote, so their ballots were converted to regular provisional and will be counted. (All who had the two forms of ID received regular provisional ballots) The one woman who didn't have time to fetch the proof of address (looks like she lives with her daughter who voted a regular ballot) was given a list of acceptable locations where she could go within 5 days to prove her residency and thus have her ballot converted from a provisional to regular provisional ballot and counted. She said she would go to the Chandler city clerk's office tomorrow to do it.
4) I helped to redirect four voter to their correct polling place. I had my iPhone, and simply pulled up the county recorder's site (recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace). I did this outside, past the "no talking to voters" zone. The poll workers had paper precinct maps that were anything but clear. The last voter I helped was an African American man in his 40s to 50's who had already been to one other precinct and was misdirected to ours. He said he hadn't voted in twenty years but was determined to do it today!
5) Lastly, just a beautiful moment I witnessed. A 40 something African American woman was waiting at the table for her name to be located in the signature book. There was a small American flag directly in front of her. As if on cue, the sweet voices of several classes of children began saying the Pledge of Allegiance in unison. She teared up as did I.
How dumb were the pundits to ever think that African Americans were so disappointed in President Obama that they wouldn't come out to vote!
Done with lunch and off to GOTV!