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The Most Illuminating and Rewarding Voter Activity I Do (Reflections from a Poll Monitor)

My name is Debbie Dalke. I am a poll monitor in Lucas County who began working with Election Protection in 2008. 

Being an Election Protection poll monitor is the most illuminating and rewarding voter activity that I do. In recent years, the most significant problems I witnessed were barriers for people with mobility issues. At some polling locations, the disability parking was clustered around the main entrance, but access to the poll was through a side door. I’ve watched people with canes and walkers struggle to reach the door, while others had to stop and rest. By noticing these problems, I’m able to help advocate for better practices to help voters with disabilities. 

One year, I asked provisional voters if they understood why they had to cast that type of ballot. Some knew, but others showed an alarming lack of knowledge. Helping people vote and understand the voting process through Election Protection is always satisfying.

An extremely important aspect of being a poll monitor is documenting the problems we encounter. The observations we share with Boards of Elections help them improve their practices. That’s why it’s important we as poll monitors build positive relationships with BOEs and poll workers, because in the end, we share the same goal of helping voters and powering our democracy. 

That’s why I’m excited to join the Election Protection Summit on July 13. By sharing space with other poll monitors, poll workers, and peacekeepers, we can work together to ensure a successful election in November. Register now to come to the summit and learn how to be a democracy defender!

Debbie Dalke, Lucas County Poll Monitor

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