Elizabeth Bass, a poll worker, listens intently as Del. Curt Anderson gives her final instructions.
"Be sure you show up promptly at 7 a.m. and don't get trapped in a mob of workers waving election day ballots in a voter's face," advises Anderson.
Yesterday, Anderson had given Bass a packet of 500 ballots that lists the candidates who have been endorsed by his political organization, the 43/44 Democratic Club.
Anderson, D-City, made similar drops to dozens of volunteers who were to man the polls in today's city primary elections. Over the past several days, other political leaders and candidates did the same as they prepared for today's voting.
"Try to get the voter alone and politely ask them if they would consider voting for the candidates on the ballot," Anderson continues instructing Bass.
lTC Bass, a retiree from the city school system, says she appreciated the instructions. Bass confesses to being a little rusty on the etiquette of poll workers. The last time she worked a poll was in 1983 when she handed out ballots for then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer.
In South Baltimore yesterday, state Sen. George W. Della Jr. met with a half-dozen volunteers scheduled to drive senior citizens to the polls today. He spent Monday and Tuesday nights distributing ballots and campaign signs.
"Some people were a little reluctant to distribute our ballots because Schmoke is on the top of the ticket," Della says. "Du Burns is still very popular down here."
Della is a member of the Stonewall Democratic Club which, this year, endorsed Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke over former Mayor Clarence H. Du Burns.
Some workers in Locust Point were hesitant about passing out the ballots, Della says, because they were angry that Schmoke had not delivered on a promise made two years ago to install lights in Latrobe Park.
"Late Monday, a call came in from the mayor's office that the lights were on the way," says Della, chuckling. "Now, our ballots are being passed out at the Point."
In Highlandtown, state. Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski's Proven Team Democratic Organization held its traditional precinct captains' meeting Monday night. Attending was a special guest, Schmoke.
"The mayor addressed the troops and thanked them for their work in the trenches," says Miedusiewski. His club endorsed the mayor this year. In 1987, when Schmoke ran against the then-incumbent Burns, the Proven Team backed Burns.
At the meeting, precinct captains received their sample ballots, checksfor expenses and challengers' slips. The ballots were dispensed to poll workers for one last canvass of neighborhoods and to pass out to voters at the polls on election day.
The challengers' slips are authorization forms that allow precinct captains and poll workers to hang around the polls and keep a running account of voter turnout, Miedusiewski explains.
Expense checks have replaced walk-around money. Prior to 1979,candidates and organizations would give cash payments, which were never reported on campaign finance reports, to workers to man polls on election day and to roust people out of their homes and get them to voting booths.
But a state law put restrictions on the practice. Instead of cash, checks must be written and recorded and distributed before election day. And workers must be paid for work done prior to election day.