They planned their menu during the September primary and while voters streamed in to cast ballots during yesterday's general, the ladies of Precinct 74 at the Friends Meeting House on North Charles Street had a banquet.
On the menu for the four election judges: a tangy Puttanesca pizza, a seven-layered salad, sardines, Fiske macaroons and oat bran muffins that were baked at 5 a.m. The grub was washed down with lemonade, juice and coffee.
"We have a good time," said Kim Berney, a Democratic election judge who shares duties with her sister, Kay. "We're hungry, but happy."
The judges admitted that having their polling place next to the kitchen of the old Quaker meeting house tempts them to be creative with their lunch and dinner plans.
It is one way to break the monotony of the day, for which they are paid $75 each. They arrive at 6 a.m. and don't leave until about 9 p.m. after closing the books on the precinct's 800 registered voters.
Besides assisting voters into the booths, the judges consulted the book, "The Cake Bible," during the lulls. They were searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe for Kay Berney's husband, whose birthday is tomorrow.
The sisters and Republican judges Nicole Schultheis and Louisa Michel also had a betting pool with a $2 wager on how many voters will turn out.
"We play games," Schultheis said.
In line to select free winter clothing at the Catholic Charities Franciscan Center on Maryland Avenue, Annette Sloan spoke of the importance of voting.
The 30-year-old mother of two has been on public assistance and now works as a nurse's assistant. She complained that she feels the pinch of high taxes in her paycheck and that drove her to the ballot box yesterday.
"Sometimes I come up short," Sloan said. "With the politicians, sometimes things don't go right. It seems like things get straightened out and then get messed up again."
Standing in line near Sloan was Terry, a homeless felon who lost the right to vote when he was convicted.
"If I could vote, I wouldn't because none of them are worth a damn," Terry observed. "We are putting one crook in there after another."