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by granddaughter of pollworker
Monday, Mar. 09, 2009 at 7:01 AM
This is an open letter to Registrar of Voters re pollworkers being forced to now use computers only in order to get necessary training. Many elders, disabled, and others cannot do this and the County provides no other choice !!!! Does anyone have a similar story ?
This shows the disregard the LA County REGISTRAR OF VOTERS gives it's pollworkers, those who have for years worked diligently for the 16-hr day at polls and thought they were offering their civic duty to help voters vote !
Here are displayed copies of 3 letters, to display the problem and disregard of the County responder whose name as been left out here. Note that other POLLWORKERS probably have the same concerns and this information can be used by anyone to assert their needs and get the 'system' to correct itself and not take it's workers for granted and disregard their abilities & needs.
here goes: 1 st letter written was :
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 3:35 PM
To: : "Ask Wanda" email@example.com>,
and "Voter Info" firstname.lastname@example.org with
Cc: "Supervisor zev"@bos.lacounty.gov;
Subject: poll worker training-for March 24th elctions- NOT OK TO BE ON COMPUTER ONLY !!!!!
this is being written in behalf of my grandmother who CANNOT USE A COMPUTER AND HAS NO ACCESS TO ONE.....WE are all objecting to this new fangled idea that all the pollworkers have access and can use the computer to save you all some postage and paper ! an atrocious idea.
There is no information about where trainigs are located except on computer ???????
Who is assuming that everyone can do what they in paid jobs can afford to do from offices or from employed positions ?
If this is an experiment, it is already a fiasco with bad will, not good will or cooperation, with the result. I am sure, you will hear from many callers on phone soon enough.
Disruption of the process is now in effect. thanks to all who make these stupid decisions on their own. This is being documented to be sure the information is clear and recorded:
TO LIMIT POLLWORKER TRAINING SITE & TIME INFO ON COMPUTER ONLY IS MAKING FALSE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THOSE ABLE TO CONFORM TO THIS NEW PROCEDURE.Many pollwworkers may then not take the trainings at all - instead, regardless of the loss of those earnings and needed update info, so that when arriving at polls on 3/24 much more confusion will disrupt and aggravate everyone, as the pollworkers confusion and inter-arguments will affect the voters who arrive as well...displaced anger and frustrations run rampant so easily anyhow those days !!!!
Or some may be disinclined to work the polls thereafter, because of the confusion and lack of know-how to do the job. Is that the unintended consequence considered at risk ? my grandmother cannot get on line and I am at work so I cant help her and I refuse to play into this disastrous idea. She has to be able to get to the trainings on her own and be able to call an 800#, not a long-distance-toll-call [562 in Norwalk] to obtain information on the trainings.
Or she will discontinue out of being 'left out' of the old loop she did worked so well for so many years, faithfully, dutifully, and with good will. Before now. even finding where to write to you on the webpage was not as simple as you, who know the page, think it is......all the time and effort required only alienates the public that is voting and working for polls,and needs to be considered....unless the county is so out of funds that it doesnt care if it falls apart in this dept also ?????
If that is the case, let's all quit this scene and pollwork right now !Please - go to poll trainings -and see the elderly, disabled, those who cannot hold regular jobs, who are the ones that work polls...obviously working those 15 hours for less than min pay....and you are now insisting they have only 1 option only to sign up on line for the required training... even tho they have for years been adhering to the proper policy and going to polls regularly and the trainings too. finished. ended.
no longer possible. for probably many more than my grandmother. who is upset, disappointed. As am I. the only phone # you have listed is a Zumm Toll call costing 12c per minute from WLA. is not an accessible phone number for those who have not paid high Long Distance service prices and cannot afford to do so.What is going on ?we called 800 # listed on Friday to inquire and the nice lady knew nothing at all about the trainings and she could not refer us except back to the 562 # instead,...the 800 assistance said even their supervisor had no idea what was being asked about trainings...so why list them at all ????
do you want a lot of confusion and misunderstanding and a poorer reputation that is alredy happening with those who sign up to work polls and yet have NO such capacity [some workers show up with less than common sense or abilities too, no screening is ever done or any questions asked, only "can you work for us ?"
and that is insufficient from what I and she have seen in person various times.again,please inform all poll workers where they can be trained for March 24th elections, and for my grandmother a traiing like in WLA area, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Santa Monica, Culver City areas.Often the booklet by PO arrives late and the trainings have alredy expired also.Sometimes they are not so late.
There is no excuse for late mailings either. Cant you all get it all together better & more efficiently ?This is also being sent to our county supervior Yaroslavky to inform them of your poor management, considering how important this USA thinks it's elections are worth !
and cost the taxpayers....and then for a few more cents saved, to make it worse now ? huh?
this is the County form letter response -
-- On Sat, 3/7/09, [name snipped out]@rrcc.lacounty.gov> wrote:
"Hi, First, I would like to thank your Grandmother for her dedication and service to this Department and to the voters in her community. It is largely through the selfless efforts of volunteers like her that we are able to conduct successful elections in Los Angeles County.
You wrote to share the frustration you, and your Grandmother, are facing at the requirement to access training information on-line. You also shared the poor telephone service you received while trying to contact this office.
Using the computer has become a necessary function of Elections. In Los Angeles County each Pollworker must understand and use the Precinct Ballot Reader, a computer designed to give Voters assurance that their vote was marked as they had intended. And, the California Secretary of State is anxious for all Counties to move toward on-line training which will create more convenient access to training for many and will verify that Pollworkers are trained.
For this Election, we are responding to the demands of Pollworkers and Election Code changes. Our charge is, to assure that those required to take training are trained, and that we can efficiently track those who have attended. Further, Los Angeles County has been directed to move toward on-line training.
To meet the challenges given to us, the Pollworker Appointment Notice was sent and included instructions about the training, access information, and phone numbers to call if you encountered problems.
All Pollworkers can now schedule to attend a Pollworker Class for the Statewide Special Election on May 24, 2009. This option was requested by many Pollworkers to avoid the uncomfortable situations when scheduled trainings became overcrowded.
The toll free 1-800-815-2666 Option 7 number is answered by the staff in the Polls and Officers section. I am sorry that the clerk answering the phone on February 20,2009 was not able to help you. Now when you reach the Option 7 choice either that Clerk or the Supervisor for your Precinct area is able to assist with logging into the Pollworker Training information. Please try the 800 - 815-2666 OPTION 7 again and your Grandmother will be helped to register for a training class.
The transition into using more electronic communications is difficult. It will however, help to solve some of the delays encountered by mailing information. As you mentioned, often printed materials are not delivered in enough time to access the most convenient training sessions.
You might be interested to know that the first mandatory on-line training session was launched at the November 2008 Presidential Election for Inspectors. Many of the long time volunteers, who choose to continue in their role as Inspectors, were able to access the training on computers at the Public Library, with the help of family, local Community Centers, or here at the Registrar- Recorder/ County Clerk Office.
We do understand that computers are not available in every home and are sorry for the inconvenience. As previously mentioned, please have your Grandmother contact us again using Option 7 after dialing the 800 -815-2666 number. She will be scheduled to attend a class.
Election Assistant II Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
12400 Imperial Highway Norwalk, Ca 90650
[name removed here] @rrcc.lacounty.gov
and 3rd, here is our response, which also includes more information about INACCESSIBILITY TO TRAININGS REQUIRED FOR POLLWORKERS IN LA COUNTY:
to [name hidden here ] @rrcc.lacounty.gov>:
Cc: "Ask Wanda" email@example.com>, "Voter Info" firstname.lastname@example.org>, & Suprv. Yaroslavsky
"thank you or your reply. However, there are some concerns many others who also work the polls besides my grandmother hanve about your statements below"
you write :"we are responding to the demands of Pollworkers"...and as far as we have asked other pollworkers, none have ever been asked, consulted or surveyed if they could respond to computer training, or the sudden change w/o prior notice or information distributed about this change [in the prior election or even a postcard sent ! or phone call made] so to generalize about the assumed agreement or needs of pollworkers sounds very very misleading and disimulating.
you also write : "Please try the 800 - 815-2666 OPTION 7 again" as if this was an answer. We have telephoned that number 3 times, and none of the different phone answers had ANY INFORMATION or knowledge of what we were asking -about pollworker training sites on computers now...- one transferred me to the  - which I repeat is a Zum Toll Call from a westwood local land line [which my grandmother can also barely afford with rising rates of /mo for local basic phone usage only !] .
We attempted to call the  in Norwalk 2 other times, and when the phone recording clicks on we pay 12c/min and stayed on line waiting for 12 min 1 x and 15 min by clock second time and did NOT GET A RESPOND but now have a phone bill for these calls, which is .44 for one non-answered recording repeated call and .80 for second one, with NO RESULTS.
So whatever else you may want to present as how hard the pollworker assistance is being addressed, this is not the way we experience it. And you can be very sure that we are not the only ones.
My time in helping my grandmother should not be considered an 'of course' and 'natural gift to the county' either, nor my email and efforts to keep her helping you helping Los Angeles County Voters.
This is all very sooon going to be included in an article being both posted on net at more than one site and on blogs, both to inform our LA County public about how we are being treated and how the voting system =Registrar- Recorder/County= assumes it can arrogantly act unilaterally and without any consideration for those who labor those few days a year out of civic duty and caring to improve our voting numbers.
She has decided she is not going to the trainings if the system has self-destructed the system that allowed her to take the bus to a close by location and do her duty.
If there are future or further problems, you have not only lost one dedicated long term pollworker but all her friends and those who surely are also having difficulties, those who are the silenced disparate "public" who are left out of the work they have dedicatedly done for so long and well enough [never perfectly].
So whatever is happening at your offices, I suggest you forward this email to someone in charge, and if you do not, some of us who refuse to allow our grandmothers - and other pollworkers - to be treated so dismissedly and pushing poor people who do not have computers nor the skills to use it.
If no corrections to this mistaken change-action is made, it is the county registrar of voters loss alll around, in reputation, in lack of worker satisfaction for pollworkers [it is bad enough as it is heard on site, check that out ! and the disputes and confusion that occurs even with all the specific written instructions provided].
Whatever you all do, it is not right. At least you did respond in a form letter style, which may mean there are others writing you and they too have this dismissal reply that provides NO HELP and NO ACTUAL ASSISTANCE TO THE PROBLEM OF SUDDENLY HAVING TO HAVE COMPUTER ACCESS AND COMPUTER SKILLS TO TAKE COUNTY POLLWORKER TRAINIG. not ok.
anyone have a similar story ? Anyone have a way to get past the clerical infantry wall of defenses ? Anyone have a group going that unites POLLWORKERS so that more voices can be heard and so people will not be treated as just numbers to be pushed around and then expected to cooperate and just 'agree'...???
or have we arrived at 1984/2009 again ?
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