I decided to early vote at Erie County Board of Elections Nov 1 but didn’t expect to be a witness to biased behavior from a poll worker.
Upon entering the Building I was greeted by a friendly poll worker who was informative on the process. One person was asking “do I need my voter card,?” The worker stated “all you have to do is give them your name, you don’t need ID just give your name and they will take you through the steps when you check in to sign and get your ballot”
When I reached the third floor there was a table directly in-front of the elevators where an older White male was checking in voters, there was seemingly no movement beyond the mouth of the white male poll worker telling a young Black woman that since she forgot her registration card at home she would have to wait and vote on Nov. 3 election day.
That same poll worker quickly moved on to the next person in line and asked a young Back man for his ID then asked him to verify what his name was while looking at his license then just a barrage of questions.
I was waved to go to a second check-in table in the rear of the office where it was much more civil quiet and organized.
When I got to the table a young Black male poll worker greeted me asked me for my name, punched it in, turned the screen towards me so I could verify the info, handed me a stylus to sign and shortly after that my ballot printed and
I went to a booth to vote. It was seamless calm friendly and serious, unlike the rodeo clown show going on at the elevator.
When I reached the elevator to leave , the same loud older white male poll worker was checking in a young white woman holding her license but not interrogating . Instead instead he was complimenting her good looks.
In the elevator on the way down to the lobby there were three other Black voters who were all complaining about the older white poll worker and his random questions One woman said she just went to the other table because he was being impossible.
I wondered if he had been doing this everyday to early voters.
Voter suppression, even in its most subtle form, is real.
I think poll workers need to be vetted and the rules to early voting check-in be posted for visitors so there is no misunderstanding . If other poll workers hear or see someone misconducting themselves, be it improper questioning, biased behavior or even favoritism it should be addressed and they should be reprimanded – however mild – attempts to discourage and suppress voters was a shocking dissapointment.
-Concerned Registered Voter