Why I am an Election Officer
Thoughts from San Mateo County Election Officers on why they serve on Election Day
We could give you a dozen reasons why you should be a Election Officer, but nothing beats hearing it from Election Officers themselves. We asked San Mateo County Election Officers to tell us, in their own words, why they serve at the polls. Read for yourself to see what inspires them.
Does something they say move you? Perhaps you'd like to join them and work at the polls on Election Day. Sign up to be a Election Officer today, and play a vital role in making democracy work.
Michael Hall, Redwood City
Election Officer since 2009
Michael is President of the Northern California Bluegrass Society and attorney from Redwood City, is a Certified Double Inspector, with 26 elections in San Mateo County under his belt!
“I’m a 2nd generation election officer; my mom, Louise Hall, of Rutherford County, Tennessee, served at the polls for over 10 years,” said Michael.
Michael summed it up this way:
“My goal is to be the provider of really good customer service. Having a good experience at the polls instills confidence and keeps people voting. I’ve always believed very strongly in democracy, and this is one thing I can do to support it.”
He’s right. Academic studies have shown that voters evaluate their voting experience primarily by the way they are treated by the Election Officers at their precinct.
By the way, Michael encourages all bluegrass fans to come to Bluegrass on Broadway, held Jan. 27-30 in Redwood City.
Emily Gladstone Cole, San Mateo
Election Officer since 2008
Meet Emily. She’s been an Inspector in Half Moon Bay, Moss Beach and Montara since 2003. Deciding to serve when she was temporarily unemployed, Emily admits, “I love helping people vote—whatever their affiliation. It’s really important to me that when we vote we are helping to form society.”
She recollects with fondness a dad who always comes to the polls with his daughter and the variety of people who come in with a minute to smile and chat. She said that when the county converted to the iPod-like eSlates, “Our voters were smarter and more capable that they feared they were. Many voters who came in set against the machines left saying, ‘This isn’t so bad!’
Emily is a System Administrator, for a company that does “good stuff.” She said, “We provide email and web filtering appliances” to block viruses from infecting customer email boxes and corporate websites. She manages a team who keep 1500 servers running for her company, now a division of Cisco.
She’s a UC Berkeley grad, fluent in French, German and tech, and she’s passionate about this country.
Elaine Baum, Belmont
Election Officer since 2009
Elaine Baum decided to become a poll worker because her friend and co-worker talked about the pleasure of being at the polls, about watching the election unfold and encouraged her to work at the polls once she retired.
What she likes most—seeing neighbors and putting faces, names and addresses together. Having done work for the Census, she knows a lot about the local streets and areas. So the two jobs, give her a really complete picture of the community. Now, she knows who lives around the corner, instead of just next door!
Many poll workers share Elaine’s perspectives on service at the polls on Election Day.
“Election Day service is rewarding, the voters are interesting and my colleagues were wonderful. It was particularly gratifying that so many voters said “Thank you for doing this” and that voters were determined to vote, no matter what,” Elaine explained.
“At the end of the very long day, when you’re packing up the eSlates and finishing up, it made me feel great that I was able to give back to the community and really participate in democracy.”
Barbara Greer, Pacifica
Election Officer since 2009
Meet Barbara Greer, a longtime poll worker who served at Fire Station #71 on Edgemar. She made such a positive impression on one of the voters in her precinct that we received an email complimenting her “customer service.”
This is what Laurie Roberts wrote about Election Day and your POLLcat colleague...
“I was so proud to be a part of the most important election in my lifetime on Nov 4, 2008. To my surprise, the best part of my voting experience was meeting Barbara Greer. In my brief moments with her, I witnessed Barbara in action! At times, she had 3-4 people asking questions and needing assistance all at the same time, and she handled it with ease and a smile on her face! Kudos to Barbara! This is what being an American is about... treating others as we'd want to be treated. Please extend my sincere appreciation to Barbara for all her efforts on Nov 4, 2008. I am honored to have met such a person!”
Thank you, Barbara. Your service to voters made the difference in how they experienced Election Day.
Kaua Wong, Belmont
Election Officer since 1991
I started working in the polls in 1991, maybe ’92,” said Kaua Wong, who moved here from Hawaii years ago.
Kaua serves as Double-Inspector in Precincts 1006 and 1007 located in the Lutheran Church on Burlingame Avenue, where he has been an Election Officer for years.
“You meet the most interesting people when you work at the polls on Election Day. And your colleagues – they become like family. Being able to work in any election is what makes this country great. I wouldn’t miss it!”
Why are you a Election Officer?
If you're already a Election Officer and want to share your story of why you serve on Election Day, we want to hear from you! Email us your thoughts in 100 words or less.
We might add your submission to this page, an upcoming issue of POLLcat, or any other Election Officer recruitment materials published by the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division. We reserve the right to edit for space, clarity or spelling/grammar.