Okay, so the sinister laugh was just for effect. But I am actually going to be an election judge at a polling place in my district this year. It's not really what it sounds like, though. I'll be doing one of 3 things: checking people in, collecting voter activation cards when people vote or handling provisional ballots. Being my first year at this, it's unlikely I'll be doing provisional ballots. And since collecting the VACs sounds incredibly mind-numbing, I hope I'll be checking people in.
With the electronic voting system we've been using since 2006 (that I hate, BTW), the biggest slowdown in voting last time was the check-in process. Apparently the concept of a stylus and touch screen was just too foreign to the election judges in charge of it. Give me that job please. I'll keep those lines moving! Of course, there's still the problem of too many people showing up to vote who are either unregistered or are in the wrong place. That kind of slows things down too. But there's not much we can do about the idiot factor.
Anyway, I had my training class last night and it was way more interesting than I expected it to be (and I now have a thick manual to study before Nov. 4th). Also there was a nice comradery among all us election judges. I think that's the benefit of having citizen volunteers doing these jobs — good attitudes all around. We're all prepared to spend 15 hours or so doing the grunt work on election day because we want to contribute to the democratic process.