By Jon Munoz —
During the run-up to the September 14th Governor Newsom Recall election, I volunteered as a Poll Monitor. The advance requirement was a one-hour ZOOM training with a member of the Democratic Party Voter Protection Team. During the call they went over the rules for the monitors, such as not speaking to any voter, not discussing any candidates with the poll workers and so forth. We were also sent checklists for our VC (Voting Center) visits and sent login credentials to the LBJ Voting website. And, yes, LBJ stands for Lyndon Baines Johnson, our 36th President, which makes it easy to remember. The LBJ Voting website is the portal where we would log any issues we encountered.
Once I was given my site assignments from Connie Sullivan, I hit the ground running on Saturday, September 4th, eventually visiting 49 VCs by Sept 14th. Site visits lasted between 20 to 40 minutes. The checklist of items I monitored, included ensuring a site’s signs were prominent (including the Voters Bill of Rights notice), no electioneering (within 100 feet), COVID protocols were adhered to, and relevant language translations were provided. I would also meet with each VC lead and make sure that all equipment was working properly, such as Ballot Marking devices, Voter check in and WiFi for ePollbooks. Another key issue was to observe if there was any voter intimidation or unruly behavior to report.
I am pleased to report that there were ZERO instances of voter intimidation reported. Further there was no issue with belligerent or rude voters from the Republican side. The only remotely close issue was a poll worker in Burbank wearing Trump/America First gear, which had already been flagged and cleared as this was not directly related to any candidates.
While there were few issues reported, the most common issues were lack of handicap parking and maybe 1-2 devices not functioning. However, as there were so many devices available, this was not an insurmountable issue. Another key question was the total number of voter check-ins which most sites divulged. For most of the period there was only a trickle of voters with the pace picking up substantially on the last two days of the election. All check-ins and issues were logged into the LBJ Voting app, which was prompt at sending notifications and identifying whether issues were closed or resolved. The main issue I had with the LBJ Voting app was there were no drop-down options for the issues I was reporting, so I used the notes section to report items like the GPS was reporting the wrong address for the Voting Center.
Throughout all my visits, which included Boyle Heights, Long Beach, Compton/Watts, Vernon, Pico Rivera and Hollywood, the Poll Workers and Leads were very friendly and informative. Of all the volunteering I’ve done over the past two years, this was definitely my most interesting experience. I can’t wait to do this again for the June 2022 Primary election!