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UPE News Item

UPE Members on the Front Lines of Election 2016

 

The 2016 Presidential election was a historic moment for the United States and UPE members played a big role.  Workers from the Office of Voter Registration (Office Technical Bargaining Unit) played a critical role in assuring elections run smoothly.  The Office is divided into six different departments each with their own area of responsibility.  

 Before the election, the Campaign Services Division is responsible for making sure the right office is on the ballot, collecting and processing forms from prospective candidates, and ensuring compliance with campaign finance laws.  On election night the team receives bags containing a cartridge and tape from the optical scanners used at each polling place in the County.  These cartridges represent the votes of thousands of Sacramento County voters. 

 The vote by mail division prepares, sends, and processes vote by mail applications and ballots.  They scan signatures, verify them for accuracy, and sort all the returned ballots by precinct.  Then ten days before the election they begin opening ballots and organizing them for counting.  

Workers at the Outreach Department strive to ensure that voters are aware of their rights as voters and fully educated on candidates and ballot initiatives.  To this end they compile sample ballots and educate voters on changes to election laws.  They also host high school mock elections in order to encourage more young people to engage in the political process. 

 Sacramento County has 782,000 registered voters and the Registration Department is responsible for keeping the voter roll up-to-date.  Each election cycle they process thousands of voter registration cards and affidavits to keep voter information accurate.  On Election Day they staff a hotline to answer voter questions. 

The precincts department is responsible for everything relating to the polling place itself.  This includes the selection and onsite review of each polling place, all 850 in the County.  After the election they are responsible for completing a 1% manual tally, auditing all the voted ballots, spoiled ballots, write-in ballots, and unused and provisional ballots. 

The group also staffs and trains about 3000 poll workers each election.  Among these 3000 poll workers are other UPE members.  Each UPE contract guarantees workers the ability to work at polling places with full pay.  Ernestine Stoddard, a Utilities Billing Services Representative at Consolidated Utilities Billing and Services (CUBS), has volunteered since 2004 and feels every person should work a poll at least once in their life, “Its fun, makes you feel good [and] it makes for a very interesting day.” Likewise Tony Derego, an Eligibility Specialist at the Department of Human Assistance, and veteran of eight elections believes “Anyone interested should try it at least once in their life.  It’s a rewarding experience.” He added “I like being involved in the process and seeing it from the inside.”  Workers interested in volunteering at future election can sign up with staff at Voter Registration.

UPE would like to thank all the workers at Voter Registration and every UPE worker that volunteered at the polls on Election Day.  Elections are a critical part of our democracy and without the hard work of UPE members elections would not be possible in Sacramento County. 

UPE would like give special thanks to Election Assistants Shannon Medina-Fobbs, David Quiel, Matthew Jensen, Kenji Furukawa, Rudy Lisondra, and Laura Anderson for their help with this article as well as Utilities Billing Services Representative Ernestine Stoddard and Eligibility Specialist Tony Derego. 

 

 

 

 

 

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