July 17, 2019

More Madness: Memoirs of an Italian Poll Clerk Pt.2

Hello sweeties,

As you might remember from this post, I've been a poll clerk for a few year now, so I thought I'd entertain you with a recount of my experience 😉. My previous post covered the hows and whens and whats of your average poll clerk activity, but it left out all the funny incidents that happen while you're on duty. So I decided to write a second post covering them as well. Enjoy!



You'd be amazed by the number of people who has to be reminded how to vote or other related things every year. They start with forgetting that they have to give you a document besides the electoral card. Some rummage in their bags at the last minute [#Annoying]. Also, they almost invariably give the electoral card to the clerk who takes documents and viceversa 😄. When they don't go and give BOTH to the president, that is...

There are always people who go out of the electoral booth with their voting paper in hand and ask HOW to vote. I mean, not the party of course, but where to put the X or something. As if there hadn't been TONS of advice for WEEKS on every TV and radio channel and newspaper, plus the internet of course. First-time voters don't even know WHICH PARTY they should vote - sometimes they even call their parents from inside the booth, or go out, paper in hand, to ask them what to do...which of course is forbidden once you've set foot in the polling place [#CluelessAndLazy].

Then there are those who don't know what the writing space next to the party's symbol should be used for. Once a woman asked us if she should write her own name on it 😲 😂. Another woman DID write her own name on it...then realised her mistake, and asked for another voting paper [#AreYouForReal]. In this latest round, while counting votes, we even discovered that someone had written the names of local candidates on the European election voting paper 😂. But back to the actual poll-duty tales - this year another woman had to be given a freshly sharpened pencil TWICE (after the first one, that is), because she was so eager to vote for whoever it was, that she kept breaking the pencil's tip...Speaking of pencils - once we had to go and retrieve one from the person who, after voting, had taken it home inadvertently (the president noticed it after a few minutes, so it wasn't difficult to match the person with the pencil, but still...one of us had to go and fetch it - because if we lose one of the pencils, there's a fine between 103 and 309 euros!).



This latest time, a woman came with her electoral card already full, and tried to blame everyone but herself for NOT HAVING BEEN TOLD that she would need to obtain a new one when she last voted. She wasn't even a young person, for goodness' sake - I expect her to have had the same problem more than once in her life...Also, can't you take a look at your own card and see for yourself that it's full? Another woman, when we told her that she only had one space left on her card - so she would have to go to the municipal office and get a replacement for the next voting rounds - argued that they should send her the new one at home (which would be ridiculous, since how is the office to know when one has no more space left?), and if it wasn't the case, she wouldn't queue for it (which queue? at the electoral office there's a queue only in the very days that precede an election, because everyone SUDDENLY realise they need a new card...) and rather not vote anymore instead [#CivicSpirit].

Once we caught a guy taking a pic of his vote with his cell (we could hear the click from where we sat OF COURSE), so we had to call one of the police officers assigned to our polling place, who had him delete the pic ("Sorry, I didn't know..." [#NiceTry]). He was lucky the officer didn't charged him with anything.



...And then, the time finally comes for us to open the ballot box. In which we usually find at least one of two voting papers with explicit (and sometimes VERY DETAILED) drawings (seriously, a couple at worst? I'm always surprised when people show so much restraint), a few more with angry or allegedly witty writings meant for the higher powers (that they will never get to see of course), and once even the same fake symbol GLUED over one of the real ones TWICE - since there were two different elections at the same time, hence two voting papers [#HowCreative]. This latest time, for the mayor ballot, someone wrote under both the candidates' names "NO" and in the middle "NONE OF THEM" [#OKICanTakeAHint]. There's also this tale going around - I'm not sure if it's made up or something that really happened, but I wouldn't put it past some voters - that once someone put a salami slice in their voting paper with the phrase "Now eat this one too" (because, of course, politicians are said to virtually eat everything they can put their hands on and leave us with the crumbs). I wonder how they were able to do it, because the paper should have gotten oily...so maybe it's a urban legend...but still, there you go, that's the story for what it's worth.


So, my long tale has finally come to an end...for real this time. I'm still curious how things work where you live (even if you have never been summoned to poll duty, I expect you to have voted!). Go ahead and let me now!


  1. Wait! They call their parents? That's ridiculous, but adorable at the same time. Here, I can walk into the polling place, point at a name, and vote. Nobody even verifies who you are. Easy to vote in America.

    1. Yep! "Momma? Whom should I vote?" 🤣 Literally!

      That easy? So...your poll clerks live the good life compared to us LOL.

  2. ...it sounds like there are A LOT of differences between the Italian voting process and the Canadian one! I don't even know where to start! But the fine for losing a pencil has to be the wildest part of this for me!

    1. It is in the rules...but I don't know if that particular one has ever been applied.

      And it's not fair! Now you have me curious! LOL.

  3. It seems pretty different because I don't even understand what a lot of that means lol

    I usually have to present my license and they match it (your signature) with their list, then you just go in with your ballot, mark who you want, put it in the machine, get a sticker and go. We also do mail in ballots as well.

    I only do that if they have an online way to be sure that they received it and never during a presidential election because I trust no one these days lol

    We also don't worry about pencils :-)))))) Ours are chained to the machine though but I no one would ever go after someone for it.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. It sounds much more relaxed than our thing here...especially for the poll clerks (ALL that paperwork! Yikes).

      I knew about the mail option. It makes a lot of sense, especially for people who are out of their hometown at the time of the election. I hear you about being cautious though LOL.

      Ha! the darned pencils! I think they made a sensation! 😂


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