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Gerry Ecker puts in a long day as precinct inspector

Her day began at 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 12 when she arrived at Skyview Elementary School in Peoria to finish getting the site ready for the primary election.
The only hitch in the two-day set-up process for precinct inspector Gerry Ecker, 62, was small, and had to do with the programming for a new voting machine for people with disabilities.
“The manual wasn’t that concise — it doesn’t describe exactly how to program for each disability,” Ms. Ecker said. “After we got it, everything else went quite smoothly.”
The most memorable moment for the 30-year Phoenix election veteran involved just one voter. “The one person who used the new machine was a man who was completely blind,” she said. “He said that was the first time in his life he ever got to vote without help. You should have seen the look on his face.”
The voter turnout was low, but average. Of 1,400 registered voters, 190 showed. The only time there was a line was in early evening, right around the time people were getting off work, she said.
“I would have liked more people to show up — you know it’s always the people who don’t vote who complain the most,” she said. “They don’t exercise this spectacular freedom we have.”
As a precinct inspector, Ms. Ecker has been in precincts all over Phoenix, and said that this primary went very smooth, including voters adhering to the new identification requirements at the polls.
“This is a good test for the general election,” she said. “The advertising informing voters to bring identification is obviously working.”
Her responsibility is to oversee the whole precinct, including set-up, the proper use of vote tabulation machines, educating voters and taking the votes to election headquarters. Her evening ended at 8:30 p.m., and she was ready to watch some television at home.
“It’s a long, long day, but it’s worth it,” she said. “Electing our leaders is a gift we are given. It’s a shame more people don’t take advantage of that.”

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