Shady stuff at my polling place

OMG! I just came back from voting, and I’m in shock. So I walk into my polling place, which is pretty small, there’s hardly ever anyone else there, and one of the poll workers is explaining the ballot to an older man. Or at least, I assume that’s what she’s doing, because as I walked past her, she’s saying “You vote for 6.” OK, fine. So he seems to understand, and she starts to walk away, and stops and comes back to him, and she’s like “Proposition 98 and 99 are very important! Make sure you vote on Proposition 98 & 99. They’re trying to take away rent control.”

So this seems somewhat inappropriate to me. Then I get my ballot, and as I’m voting, another man walks in, but it turns out this isn’t actually his polling place, so they tell him to go elsewhere or something – I wasn’t really listening to that part of the conversation. But then, my ears perked up as he was on his way out the door, when she yelled across the room at him “Make sure you do vote today! There’s a very important issue – they’re trying to taking away rent control! Don’t let them win! Please, God, don’t let them win!”

Um…so I voted against Proposition 98 too, but poll workers aren’t allowed to do that, right?

34 thoughts on “Shady stuff at my polling place

  1. zach

    As a poll worker (who’s on his break right now), i can tell you heck no! thats not allowed… and neither is holding up signs less than 100 feet from a polling place. One of the candidates and some volunteers were doing this and when I told them they might be closer than 100 feet and might want to cross the street just to be safe, I was told in an aggressive tone to “Measure it!” I told the group they could use their judgment and stay if they thought they were 100 feet or more away. Well after they left, we measured and my sense of space and distance was correct- they had been standing approx 67 feet away. When the group came back, one of the other poll workers told the group to move over a bit, which they did without any more arguing, but hey, it’s not cool to give attitude to a poll worker who’s just trying to do his job.

  2. Becks

    Wow – pretty incredible. I think Prop 98′s one of the most important items on the ballot, but that’s just not ok in any way. Hopefully that poll worker won’t be asked back for the next election.

    Zach – that sounds frustrating!

    Maybe it’s because my polling place is in Rockridge, but I’ve never seen anyone campaigning for anything anywhere near it.

  3. Mike Hardy

    My wife and I didn’t do more than vote this time but we’ve hosted a polling place before, and it was sort of fun.

    Zach – good for you for working the poll! All hail the poll workers :-)

    And yeah, that’s totally annoying – no campaigning in the booth, folks

  4. Chris Kidd


    Boo for breaking polling regulations. I suspect there’s more of that than we’d like to believe.

    But yay for No on 98. Seriously, if it passes it’ll pretty much ruin my hopes of a career in CA…

  5. scottpark

    Nobody should be doing any electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place. Period.

    Prop 98 sucks, however.

    My polling place problem was that they were asking for ID to vote. Clearly that ain’t right. Luckily, what I assume is the poll manager agreed and corrected the workers. It was 7:25 or so, so I’m sure they had enough time to get it right without any major harm done.

  6. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    The first person at the polling location was obviously the smart one… after that, the second person could not find my address to save her soul. Finally person #1 helped her. Then, person #3 could not figure out what NP meant, so I helped her along.

    The whole take the tab off, put the ballot in the machine, return the folder and the pen thing was funny, but with three people was finally resolved. I was in and out in 7 minutes. It helped that I took 30 seconds to connect the arrows.

    The woman behind me tried to show ID, but #1 was again superb and refused to look at it. #2 wanted it to find her addy, but #1 stopped her. I saw no one telling anyone how to vote.

    Woohoo, it’s over until Nov!

  7. oakie

    Having a poll worker do that is outrageous. And the law ought to be enforced. I hope you do the right thing and see this through. We’re talking about the bedrock of democracy when people mess with the voting process. It matters not one iota which side the poll worker was on.

  8. oaklandhappenings

    ARRRGH! Tonight was a sad night for D1 and D3 residents, and many others in Oakland who wanted the incumbents for these two districts overthrown. One can only hope that Nadel and Brunner will get their act together, if the new at-large can be convincing. That is not to say that Sean S and Pat M would guarantee us that they would do better jobs, but the city council really needed more new faces.
    Word to city council– okay, so two of the lousy incumbents are relected; either start doing your jobs better now, regarding public safety, development, etc. As for the voters who voted for these two, don’t make the rest of us suffer because of your decisions.

  9. Ken

    4 more years of incompetence in D1. maybe even D3.

    OPD and OPOA need to grow a pair of balls.

    nancy and jane are helping tear oakland apart.

  10. Ralph

    can someone tell me who those 3300+ brain dead individuals are? i want them removed from the district.

  11. oaklandhappenings

    Ralph, those who voted for Nadel and Brunner and the same types who will vote for Jean Quan when the next election for D4 comes up: they are the one’s who are either (a) living in Oakland just to pay less for housing, be closer to their jobs and don’t give a rat’s a** about the city improving at all; (b) they just want to get voting out of the way to move on with the rest of their day, so they think that just picking random people on the ballet and turning it in is all they have to do. Wake up, Nadel and Brunner voters: you obviously haven’t done any research to what the incumbents have done to screw you over (even if you aren’t aware of it). If you had at least gone to the S.S. or P.M. websites, you would have noticed that these are two men who wanted change (likely) for the better.
    Apparently, lots of you NN and JB voters didn’t.
    This is why Oakland is given the laughingtock award –by the SF media especially.

  12. oaklandhappenings

    Hey, V– I know you don’t want us to waste time with a Dellums’ recall; I agree– he is slowly–but finally–getting aggressive with Govr “AH-Node”, showing seriousness about public safety (ie keeping the CHP helping in Oakland for an extended period). However, what about a recall for these re-elected, apathetic CC members if they don’t do something productive during the first month of their new term? Is their a minimum number of months they have to be in office before a recall is allowed?

  13. Tom Murphy

    I’ve got two words for Oakland City Council Races:


    and if that doesn’t work:


  14. Chris Kidd

    If NN had dipped under 50%, would there have been a runoff? Cuz she got sooooo close to going under 50.

    I guess promising to do things in the last month that she hasn’t done/ignored/voted against/directly opposed over the last 12 years can actually rustle yourself up some votes. Too bad.

  15. Jessica

    Wow! Didn’t anyone train those pollworkers? I imagine she wasn’t working alone.

    I had a different experience at my polling place, where the volunteers had a pool going about how many people would actually show up. The high estimate was 180. What a depressingly low turnout!

  16. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    This sucks (specifically District 3). I don’t know why 3576 people voted for NN. And just out of curiousity, how many people are registered in District 3? I want to know why so few people voted and why 51.65% of those that did vote felt that the status quo was okay. I’d like to meet someone other than the two people I know that voted for NN. WTF?

    The status quo is not okay. It sucks.

    At least Rebecca Kaplan still has a chance against Kerry Hammill.

    The sad thing is that makes me even more inclined to give up on my neighborhood and I’d already stopped a lot of the love a year ago – 60% because of NN. 20% because of other members on the Board of JLDA. The other 20% because of people who live in the neighborhood and trap me in my store to complain but never have solutions.

    I had a great solution. Anyone but NN. Get things done.

    I’ve told the little ad-hoc committee I created to get a dog park in our area that my new motto is to “make it happen”. I certainly don’t want her to take credit for it. I’m not even a dog person. I just don’t get why JLDA, nor NN has been unable to do something that I see as fairly easy. I’m going to prove it. Maybe I’ll even add to the sign “No thanks to NN”. Argh, I’m Angry & Bitter. Hey wait, that’s V’s image! (sorry, V – couldn’t resist)

  17. scottpark

    Wow! Given the vitriol many of you are spewing about your neighbors here in Oakland, is it any wonder nobody voted for your candidates? Perhaps the message “Oakland is absolutely terrible and going to hell in a handbasket” isn’t really all that compelling to the average voter, who, among other things, doesn;t really want to feel that way about where they live.

    Nancy got over 50% in a three way race. You really just have to shut up after that. The same is true of Jody London. The fact that Brunner got 75%–far more than I ever thought she would–is also a very very decisive victory. All the incumbents won, but Brunner and Nadel won by similar, if not larger, margins than Ignacio and Larry. That, I think, is the story of the election.

    Or perhaps one shouldn’t read too much into any of the results. All the incumbents who ran, won, regardless of the, let’s face it, degree of their progressivism. I really think it’s just far too hard to unseat an incumbent, regardless of where you are on the issues.

    I think term limits are a great idea and the only real solution to incumbentitis. But even with term limits, insulting voters, particularly the voters who picked a winning candidate, may feel good for venting, but is politically DOA.

  18. zach

    Jessica- that’s funny. I was the inspector at your polling place. Oakland Main Library, right? Yeah, turnout was so low I had to think of creative ways to keep the other poll workers awake! i think there were 600 votes at this same polling place in February — we ended up with 149 yesterday. Of course these numbers don’t include absentee ballots, of which there were 80 submitted (many from different precincts though) and many more mailed in. In Alameda County, it looks like voter turnout was 24% of 725,098 registered votes ( In February turnout was 58%, but I can’t remeber if that was ALameda County of the state.

    ANybody know where you can look at the results by precinct?

  19. avis

    A friend who votes in the district where De La Fuente and Juarez have been competing said he showed up to vote and saw a poll worker wearing a Mario Juarez t-shirt. If this isn’t illegal I think it should be.

  20. Barry

    Huzzah! Business can continue as usual, unfettered! For a minute I thought we had a chance to curb murder and carjacking rates, fill the downtown condos that remain empty. (Have you driven around West of Broadway? Vast city blocks of empty condos. One builder apparently has just stopped construction, mid-way.)

    What person in their right mind is going to pay $6,000 in property taxes to live in an unsafe City? Who is willing to suck it in for a LLAD tax that failed in practice the last time it was passed? (Remember that AFTER the LLAD assessment was passed, we ended up with less gardeners, not more.)

    I actually have the option of buying a house in Oakland. No way that I would consider it now after the D1 and D3 election results, as we have a huge slide downwards ahead of us.

    More money to fund these jokers ain’t coming out of my wallet.

    Chris you wrote:

    “I guess promising to do things in the last month that she hasn’t done/ignored/voted against/directly opposed over the last 12 years can actually rustle yourself up some votes. Too bad.”

    Sad to say but there is a voting block of voters that is just as complacent as the reps they just voted in. N Nadel is the worst of the bunch, but the fact the incumbents returned to their positions after the depths the City of Oakland has sunk to — well, I guess the voters got what they deserved.

    If Oaklanders set their political sights low, they’ll hit the target everytime.

    SO. Raise your glassed high, everyone…..a toast:

    “Long live Lowered Expectations!”


  21. Max Allstadt


    Here’s what I’ve learned:

    1. Incumbency is powerful as all hell, especially in a low turnout election.

    2. I don’t think Sean Sullivan failed. I think OakPAC’s mailer was the primary culprit. The body chalkmarks thing was bush league, obnoxious, and probably helped worsen an already horrible turnout. People who were well read enough to connect OakPAC’s endorsement of Sean to OakPAC’s ugly mailer may well have been put off enough to vote against him. Given the national election’s focus on hope and change, that mailer was an even worse move. I believe that it hadn’t been sent, we would be having a run off.

    3. Greg Hodge is a good sport. He drove by me while I was playing my double bass on Grand Avenue, with Nancy Reiser waving Sullivan signs next to me. He and Jemoke had a loudspeaker. Hodge had a kind of mischevious chuckle under his voice as he called out something like “Vote Greg Hodge for City Council! Love the bass playing though!”

    4. Playing double bass for three hours straight when you’re callouses have worn off – not the brightest idea, but fun at the time. I have huge blisters on four fingers. On the bright side, busting my ass for Sean yesterday seems to have lifted a 6 week long creative block.

    5. MJH and Jake are very cool and very very smart. I really want to see them both commenting here more often.

    scottpark: I’m with you that continuing to bitch about Nadel for its own sake is really pointless at this point. I’m out of politics for now. When I get back into coming down to council meetings, I’m gonna stick with substantive issues when I get up to speak. Term limits is totally one of those substantive issues. I’m favoring the Russian way: consecutive term limits. Two terms, take a break. If the new guy sucks, come on back.

    And the last thing I learned is scottparks’ real name! Or rather I deduced it from his comment “You really just have to shut up after that”….

  22. Max Allstadt

    scottpark is Bill O’Reilly!

    Just kidding. I actually have fun debating Mr. Park. I’d like to see more dissenting voices on here actually. Invite your neighbors who disagree with you!

  23. Barry

    Max –

    You’re not suggesting we stop holding N Nadel’s feet the fire? Barely escaping a run-off should not mean we all should issue her a four-year long “Get out of Jail Free” pass. Sorry, but for the next four years, we will be suffering the effects of Nadel’s watering down of Measure Y.

    I can’t give her a free pass.

    Jack London Square, Old Oakland and Lake Merritt neighborhoods have been asking for quality of life amenities: skate board and dog parks — the dog forsaken Lake Merritt folks have been strung along for 10 of Nadel’s 12 years in office.

    Quality of Life in the next four years? That ain’t in the cards either as Nadel squandered her past pay-go monies promised for the projects mentioned above to buy an empty, uninhabitable building in West Oakland for a future teen Center. She complains that the building needs re-hab funds. OK – where do you think those re-hab funds are going to come from?

    I’m thinkin’ the next four years of pay go funds.

    Again, I can’t give her a free pass.

    Should people in West Oakland give her a free pass regarding the lack of a proper grocery store due to her last bungling in negotiations that favored her insider buddies….that stilll hasn’t panned out?

    I am thinking that maybe Nancy Nadel is not going to find the next four years a pleasant experience….

    Don’t give up the fight. Those who stay here in Oakland should never give up the fight.

    Only when you move out of the City do you get a Get out of Jail Free card….


  24. Barry

    Sorry — that should have read the “long forsaken” not “dog” forsaken.

    Yet to meet a dog that forsakes.

  25. Max Allstadt

    No Barry, I’m not suggesting that at all. I’m only suggesting that sitting around and calling her names and being mad isn’t particularly productive.

    No. I’m just tired. I think it’s well worth it to take action bad ideas when they come along, and to try and get things done for the good of your neighborhood. But seeing as Nadel will likely not seek another term, she’s not even accountable if she ignores you. So that leaves two options: make friends with her again, or find other powers to appeal to when you need to get things done.

    I’m considering volunteering to help Rebecca Kaplan in her run-off, for instance. Her showing was impressive, and I actually think she may end up being my favorite council member if we can get her past Hamill.

    That said, I am done with politics for a bit. I have a fight in me that is very effective when I let it out, but it’s also all consuming and draining. I actually wish I had put more of it in to helping Sean. Maybe I can. He still runs a music program and I’m still a musician.

  26. Barry

    Max – I don’t like name calling — and maybe I am so myopic that I didn’t notice name calling by earlier posters. Maybe I was too tired and angry to notice, which is probably the case.

    Good to hear that you are not fixin’ to back off in the long run.

  27. V Smoothe Post author

    Zach –

    Precinct totals are available from the ROV here, but a little bit tricky to get to. Pick the race you want from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner, then click on the “i” button from the toolbar in the upper right corner to get details about any specific precinct.

  28. Nancy Rieser

    Have hope Max — EB Express says thousands of absentee and provisional ballots still need to be counted. Maybe you’ll get lucky and have to flip a coin to decide which campaign to work on over the next 5 months — Rebecca’s or Sean’s.

    Your plucking the strings of that big smokin’ base near the Children’s Fairyland Entrance was definitely a campaign highlight for me (that plus “Shilling for Sean” with his New York mom at the Farmer’s market.)

    Politics may come and go, but we’ll always have Grand Avenue…

    Hope those finger pads are healing.

  29. ralph

    nancy, i’d like to hold out hope but i am convinced there are too many kool-aid drinking sheep.