Poll inspector who arrived to work drunk symbolizes human factor of election problems

An election inspector who arrived drunk at a South of Market polling place Tuesday prevented normal voting from starting until more than an hour after polls were due to open, reports indicate.

While the equipment problems that plagued many of The City’s polling places can be eliminated with new machinery, the large amount of human errors might be harder for The City to correct.

When the inspector assigned to precinct 3627 at 330 Clementina St. in District 6 came too drunk to work at 7 a.m., the department sent out a replacement, poll workers said Tuesday. That inspector called in and said he didn’t know how to do the job, so the elections department sent 13-year veteran Lee Ann Tanape to oversee the site.

Workers commenced emergency voting at the site, but regular voting did not begin until after 8 a.m., according to department records.

The San Francisco Department of Elections reported that 3,333 people worked on the election. Nearly all of those are temporary workers hired to run polling places. Inspectors are paid $150 for their voting-day work, which often takes 12 hours. Clerks are paid $120, the department reported.

Elections department chief John Arntz said poll workers receive 2.5 hours of unpaid training, conducted by a temporary worker, prior to election day.

Arntz said further training might not be realistic. “These people are essentially volunteers,” he said Friday. “They’re taking time out of their life to go to a training class, and would they go to a second training class?”

The solution, Arntz said, would be for The City to hire permanent trainers. “Give us permanent positions so that we can have a staffing structure. Give us continuity from election to election,” Arntz said.

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

The Walgreens at 4645 Mission St. in The City is among those slated to close. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Walgreens says it’s closing five San Francisco stores due to crime. Where’s the data?

Walgreens should be transparent, enlighten San Francisco leaders about crime’s effect on business

While some pedestrians enjoy walking on the car-free Great Highway, others, who drive to work, want the road reopened full-time to vehicles. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Converting the Great Highway into a Great Walkway makes no sense

It’s helpful to take a detailed look at the environmental and transit effects

San Franciscans are likely to have the opportunity to vote in four different elections in 2022. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Electionpalooza: SF school board recall will kick off a flurry of local races

‘It’s going to be a lot of elections and a lot of decisions for voters to make’

Four young politicos were elected to city government on the Peninsula in 2020. From left: Redwood City Councilmember Michael Smith; South San Francisco Councilmember James Coleman; Redwood City Councilmember Lissette Espinoza-Garnica; and East Palo Alto Councilmember Antonio Lopez.<ins> (Examiner illustration/Courtesy photos)</ins>
Progressive politicians rise to power on the Peninsula. Will redistricting reverse the trend?

‘There’s this wave of young people really trying to shake things up’

Most Read