Yesterday, I worked as an “election officer” at one of the local polling places. That was the first election I worked since Wisconsin had an election for governor in November of 2002. If you haven’t worked as an election official, you really are missing out.

I like to work in one of the wards near the University of Wisconsin-Madison, even though it is several miles away from my house. The students are almost universally charged up about voting. Most of them haven’t had the opportunity to vote in too many elections, so the luster of the process hasn’t worn off yet.

Many of the students also haven’t had the chance to vote for Presidential candidates before. They were too young to vote in the Bush/Gore election, so this is their first chance to vote for the country’s chief executive.

Election workers have an enviable job. We get people where they want to go. Sales people often have to convince their potential clients that what the salesman is selling is something that the clients cannot live without.

Chances are, if you show up at a polling place, you want to vote, nobody needs to convince you to do so. Therefore, election workers just try to make the process smooth and easy for everyone involved.

As a general rule, most people who come to vote are happy. If I worked as a bill collector, repo man, or the like, working as an election official would be a wonderful change of pace. Instead of making people unhappy, I would help to make sure people stay happy.

There are always interesting stories to be garnered from working at the polls. One gentleman yesterday (who was working for the Dean campaign) was literally dragging people he knew in off the street to vote. He didn’t care for whom they voted, so much as they cast their vote. Even if you didn’t agree with his politics, you had to admire his heart.