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The Loco Pit Is From Chy-Na

, , | Working | October 25, 2016

(We’re holding a training day for volunteers at our heritage railway. The instructor tells us that as part of health and safety regulations, each one of us is also responsible for informing others of hazards.)

Volunteer: “Do we have to point out hazards to people we don’t like?”

Instructor: “Yes.”

Me: “So we can’t let Donald Trump fall into the loco pit?”

Freedom Of Screech

| Right | August 30, 2016

(I am working as an inspector at a polling place during the recent primary. A rule that has been in place as long as I can remember is that you cannot engage in electioneering – i.e. trying to influence others’ votes – within 100 feet of the polling place; this includes partisan apparel as well as verbal electioneering. I have already had to tell several people to take off their buttons, caps, etc. Most grumble but comply.)

Me: “Sir, you need to turn that shirt inside out.”

Man: “What? Why?”

Me: “Because it advertises a candidate, so it’s considered electioneering.”

Man: “You’re suppressing my freedom of speech!”

Me: *using the broken record technique* “No, it’s considered electioneering. There’s a restroom in the building where you can turn it inside out.”

Man: “Okay, but I want you to show me where it’s written I have to do that!”

(He’s on the roster and registered with a party, so none of that is an issue, and he gets his ballot and goes to vote. This gives me time to look through the Poll Worker Guide, where it says exactly what constitutes electioneering, and – surprise, surprise! – it says just what I told him, and then some. When he finishes voting, I show him the passage and, as requested, read it out to him word for word.)

Man: “I want to file a complaint! What’s your name?!”

(I hand him a card with the number of the Elections Office, upon which I write my name, position, the name of the polling place, and its ID number.)

Man: “So you’re telling me I can’t show my support for [Candidate]?”

Me: “You can, but it has to be at least 100 feet away from the polling place. Once you get there, you can turn your shirt back out.”

Man: “And you’re telling me that’s not suppressing my freedom of speech?!”

Me: *again* “No, it’s considered electioneering and it’s not allowed within 100 feet of the polling place.”

Man: *huffily* “Well, I bet if I asked around, people would say it was an issue of freedom of speech!” *storms out*

(I called the elections office and told them what happened, and they told me I was 100% in the right. No idea if he ever called and lodged that complaint, but if he did they probably told him the same thing.)

A Vote Of No Confidence

| Right | June 21, 2016

(I’m volunteering on Election Day for a local campaign in May of 2012. With the presidential election happening in November most people are completely unaware that this election is happening earlier in the year.)

Me: “Hello, sir, I’m calling with [Candidate] for Mayor, to make sure that you—”

Voter: “D*** it! I’m so sick of these political calls!”

Me: “I apologize, sir, we just—”

Voter: “People already know how they are going to vote! What is the point of these?! If I get one more call then I’m not going to vote for [Candidate].”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry sir. We will make sure you don’t get called again. We just wanted to make sure you had a chance to vote today.”

Voter: “Good! Wait… the election is today?! Um… do you know where my polling place is?”

Time To Even Out The Constitution

, , , , | Learning | February 29, 2016

(The year is 1997. We have been learning about the Constitution in my social studies class. The teacher decides to incorporate current events into the lesson.)

Teacher: “Okay, so, can anyone tell me why Madeline Albright can never be president?”

Classmate: “Because she’s a woman?”

Teacher: *look of supreme irritation crosses her face* “Please, please, can SOMEONE give me the right answer?”

Me: “Because she wasn’t born in the United States.”

Teacher: “THANK YOU!” *glares at classmate*

(Two days later, she scrapped her original lesson plans and we watched a video about famous women in history.)


This story is part of our Presidents Day roundup!

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The Vote Is In: He’s An Idiot

| Right | September 28, 2015

(I am volunteering for a local political campaign and calling a list of voters whose ballots have not yet been returned.)

Man: “Hello? Who is this number?”

Me: “Hello, I’m a volunteer for [Political Campaign], and-

Man: “Oh, no! Now just HOLD ON A SECOND. YOU PEOPLE DON’T TELL ME HOW TO VOTE!”

Me: “Sir—”

Man: “You think you can call people and tell them how to vote, but that’s none of your business—”

Me: *interrupting* “Sir, I don’t think you understand the purpose of these calls.”

Man: “Excuse me? I don’t understand? I’m 60 years old and I don’t need some little girl telling me how politics work or how to vote!”

Me: “We are not calling to tell people how they should vote. We are contacting people who are listed as not returning their ballots—”

Man: “So you can tell them how to fill them out!”

Me: “—so we can make sure that they actually received them, as that would be a problem if they had not. If they have received their ballot, we remind them that they must be mailed by Thursday, two days from now, in order to be counted in time, or let them know that they can be dropped off at their local polling station. If they do not know where their polling station is we can give them the address, and if they do not have means of transportation to get to their polling station we can arrange for a ride. Then we have a few optional questions for polling purposes.”

Man: “WHAT!? You Democrats admit to bringing people to polling stations! That’s election fraud! You just admitted it!”

Me: “Well, sir, I don’t see how it could be election fraud if they’re registered voters. Even people without a car or the means to afford one have voting rights.”

Man: “I- I KNOW THAT! I’ve been voting for 60 years!”

Me: “42.”

Man: “EXCUSE ME?”

Me: “The legal voting age is 18. If you’re 60 years old, you could have only been voting for the past 42 years.”

Man: “…”

Me: “So, have you received your ballot?”

Man: “That’s NONE of your business! You shouldn’t be asking people personal questions about politics!”

Me: “Very well, sir, participation in the voting and polling process is completely optional. Have a nice day.”

Man: “And I’m a Republican anyway, so you wouldn’t want my ballot!”

Me: *patience slipping a little* “Sir, we would still be happy to assist you in registering your vote or reaching the polling station if you required it. Preventing people from voting is not our party agenda.”

Man: “…Well, um, where the hell is it I’m supposed to go on Thursday, then?”

Me: “According to your listed district, your polling station is at [Address]. And the election is next Tuesday, not this Thursday. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Man: “NO! I KNEW THAT!” *hangs up*