Tonawanda News

Opinion

November 9, 2012

READER LETTER: Niagara election board failed voters

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — The BoE has the entire year to prepare for the madness of Election Day. It is unfathomable that they were so unprepared for the challenges it presents. I understand that it is difficult and stressful, and was more than willing to wait patiently and cheerfully for my turn to see the judge. Despite the inconvenience, I even enjoyed meeting fellow voters who cared enough to stand in line for hours, establishing camaraderie with other citizens invested in participating in the political process.

What eroded my patience and killed my cheerfulness was not the wait, or the inconvenience, but rather the misinformation and conduct of the staff. Had we been treated like human beings instead of willful children, had friendliness replaced rudeness, and had explanations replaced lies, the entire process would not have been nearly as frustrating or disheartening.

Before the next election day, the Niagara County Board of Elections should at a minimum implement an organizational structure to handle the large volume of potential voters on election day and the preceding weeks; so many of the delays could have been eliminated with scheduled appointment times or even staggered groups. Some sort of customer service training should also be required. Do we really want to live in a world where we are treated with more friendliness and competence by cashiers at McDonald’s than the faces of our government?

In the end, after nearly three hours of waiting I was able to get my court order and join my fellow citizens in casting my ballot for president. I’m proud that I voted, despite the obstacles, but I am concerned that if someone as committed as I wound up so frustrated, how many people gave up and chose not to vote rather than jump through hoops and deal with rude incompetence? Next time around, let’s make it easier and friendlier for everyone to cast their vote.

Danielle Nuchereno is a North Tonawanda resident.

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