February 08, 2012 - It was standing room only at Election Inspector Training, Jan. 28 in Township Hall.
"Training took about one hour and half," said Independence Township Clerk Barbara Pallotta. "Some of the inspectors stayed afterward to play with equipment and become comfortable with it."
Additional training will be Feb. 15-16, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
"People can sit down there as long as they want to become comfortable with the electronic poll books," she said. "I'm just really looking forward to Feb. 28 to take my first shot at an election."
The township mailed over 2,100 absentee ballots and, for the first time in her career and in the township, they balanced on the first count, which means every ballot was issued correctly.
"The staff all pitched in and did a really good job," she said.
Also preparing for the upcoming elections, Pallotta visited all precinct locations and staff members working there. One change this year is combining precincts 12 and 15 at Bailey Lake Elementary.
"Precinct 12 only had 800 voters in it, so I couldn't justify keeping it open," she said. "That will be effective in August and I will send out the appropriate notices, but it will become known as precinct 12."
Pallotta also has been in touch with Clarkston Schools Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock and Clarkston High Schools Principal Gary Kaul. She will talk to high school students students this week and ask for help at the Feb. 28 election
"Not only to have them be behind the scenes and learn about the voting process and elections, but also to operate our e- Poll books for us," Pallotta said.
She enjoys working with election inspectors.
"They have a long day and they're very enthusiastic about it," she said. "Clarkston State Bank and Rudy's supplies lunch to all of our inspectors. I've never worked anywhere where anybody did that."
Not all election inspectors are Republican or Democrat, she said.
"There are a lot of independents out there now declaring they're independent," she said. "I thought that was pretty interesting."
New to the polls this year are two separate ballots, one for Republican and one for Democrat. Pallotta also said voters need to have their photo ID. If they don't, there is an affidavit on the back of the application and they'll be able to sign that to vote.
Overall Pallotta is enthusiastic about the election season.
"I love elections, there is lots of work, but it's exciting," she said. "It's exciting to be part of a process."
Elections this year:
• Feb. 28, Presidential Primary;
• May 8, Clarkston Schools $20 million bond issue;
• Aug. 7, state primary for township boards;
• Nov. 6, general election.
For more information, call the clerk's office at 248-625-5111
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.