The Midtown Republican Club got an update on elections yesterday when Carol Collinsworth addressed our group. An administration technician with the Election Commission, Ms. Collinsworth filled us in on all the changes that have occurred since the last election.
First, there will be a new chairman. Bill Giannini, who was in charge, is taking a position with the state department of commerce and insurance in Nashville. He will be replaced by Robert Meyers, who has been on the commission for longer than a year. Then, two new Democrats will take the place of Democrats Myra Stiles and James Johnson. Norma Lester, who ran for the Shelby County Commission and lost will replace Stiles. George Monger, a vocal critic of the August 5, 2010, election proceedings, takes the other Democrat spot. He ran at age 18 for the City Council in 2007.
In addition, the legislature has passed a photo ID law that will require every voter to present a valid ID. “A photo ID is not going to disenfranchise anyone,” thinks Ms. Collinsworth. “It will cut down on people who should not be voting.”
Collinsworth, who began working for the Election Commission in 2008, feels confident in the voting system. “If you work at the election commission you realize that we can’t rig anything,” she said, referencing the August 5 election. She described the backups to all the votes, the tapes that are saved for years, the safeguards put in place to prevent tampering.
She welcomed, in fact, all the scrutiny the Democrats brought to the August 5 election because she felt confident that there had not been any foul play. “They snapped our pictures as we went into work and took down our license plate numbers,” but it didn’t bother her.
Collinsworth is a full time election commission worker. Now there are fewer than 20 people working, but during elections the number swells to the thousands.
“I encourage you to get involved,” she said. “We try to place you as close to your home precinct as possible. We try to get half Republicans and half Democrats, but in some precincts there is not one Republican – or they may not want to disclose it.”
“We pay $100 for the day and $30 for the mandatory class. Some people choose to donate their money for a group cause. Your group can earn $600 in one day. ” The requirements are you have to be able to work on a computer and you must arrive at the poll at 6 and stay past 7 when the polls close long enough to get everything tallied and the machines packed away.
You can work early voting, too, which pays $12.01 an hour. Good workers are always needed and it is a necessary and beneficial part of being a citizen.
“Besides,” Collinsworth says, “politics is fun!”