Local poll workers get high marks
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JANESVILLE Local poll workers were expecting they'd be scrutinized Tuesday, and they were.
A Gazette reporter visited six polling places over the course of five hours in Janesville on Tuesday, talking mostly to observers from the two major parties.
"Intimidation," said Renee Friedman of Chicago when asked what she was looking for at Washington Elementary School.
"Being turned away unnecessarily," added Rachael Druzinsky, Friedman's daughter.
The pair were volunteering for the Obama campaign. They said at 1 p.m. and again around 6:30 p.m. that they had seen nothing objectionable.
Indeed, no dirty tricks or improper procedures were immediately reported in Rock County on Tuesday night.
The same response came from observers at other polling places, even though polls were crowded and the same-day voter registrations kept poll workers very busy. Voters patiently waited, sometimes in long lines.
People from the Romney campaign, the local League of Women Voters and the state Department of Justice also registered to observe at various polls, but they didn't stay all day, as many Obama supporters did.
A reporter ran into only one Romney worker, a Janesville man named Greg, who declined to give his last name because he said he had gotten nasty phone calls the last time a reporter quoted him on politics. Greg was checking each voter at Harrison Elementary School on the east side.
Greg said he was working for Project Orca, the Romney get-out-the-vote effort. He kept track of who voted. Each voter was assigned a number, and he transmitted the numbers to the Romney campaign via cell phone.
Apparently, the information was used to make sure that Romney supporters got a call if they did not make it to the polls.
Most observers complimented the poll workers' efforts, and poll workers interviewed said things went well, although the lines of people waiting to register got long at times.
"It's very well run, as far as I can tell," said Obama observer and Chicagoan Joan Coogan at Harrison School.
Three observers from Organizing for America's "voter protection program" watched at Edison Middle School.
"The people here do a great job," said F. Willis Caruso, a law professor from Chicago who had observed at Edison four years ago.
Janesville City Clerk Jean Wulf and Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler said they did not know of illegalities or improprieties surrounding the vote. Wulf said she received complaints of electioneering near the polls, but those instances were deemed OK because they were just outside the 100-foot limit.