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Where are the at-large poll workers?

LL has just been on a tour of some of the bigger-turnout precincts east of the Anacostia River and couldn’t help but notice the dearth of campaign workers for any at-large D.C. Council candidates.

At two large precincts in Congress Heights, only A.J. Cooper had a poll worker. An AFSCME union member wearing an Obama T-shirt at Precinct 124’s polling place, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ, had to be reminded by poll workers for Ward 8 school board candidate Phil Pannell that he had literature in a plastic grocery bag to pass out promoting Councilmember Michael Brown.

Poll workers for other campaigns and longtime voters at these precincts say that at-large campaigns usually staff the precincts.

At St. Thomas Episcopal Church, home to Precinct 110 in Ward 7, challengers David Grosso, Mary Brooks Beatty, and Cooper each had one person handing out literature. Incumbents Vincent Orange and Brown are evidently relying on help from labor unions at the two polls LL visited.

Obviously the presidential campaign won’t be contested closely in D.C., but poll workers can be important for down-ballot races, especially the at-large race. Many voters are unaware that they can vote for two candidates in the at-large race, so having a friendly poll worker remind voters on their way in can be key.

LL spoke to several voters east of the river today who say they only voted for Orange, the race’s lone Democrat.

There’s also the fact that a large number of voters pay little to no attention to council races. A personal touch at the last minute just might make the difference.

Of course, not every poll worker is a plus for a campaign. At precinct 110, a man promoting Republican Ward 7 D.C. Council candidate Ron Moten appeared to be annoying some voters in line by yelling at them about Councilmember Yvette Alexander‘s alleged shortcomings and Moten’ greatness. (He was also passing out literature urging a vote for Moten and President Barack Obama.)

“The closet thing you’re going to get to voting for God is voting for Ron Moten,” the man said.

A few minutes later, he was yelling at the voters about the dangers of eating meat.

“Animal eating is the No. 1 killer of human beings.”

Photo by Alan Suderman