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San Diego Man Has Worked Polls In 50 Elections, But Is Now Retiring

Douglas Dannemiller, a volunteer poll worker, stands in a hallway for an inte...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Douglas Dannemiller, a volunteer poll worker, stands in a hallway for an interview at City College, May 24, 2018.

If you visit a polling place Tuesday to cast your ballot, you will likely be checked in by a volunteer poll worker.

One of these volunteers in San Diego County has been at it for a long time — this is his 50th election. And he says it will likely be his last.

Douglas Dannemiller, 70, said he started volunteering at polls back in 1992. The San Diego County Registrar records only go back to 1996, but they show he volunteered that year and has worked every election since.

"It’s something my parents instilled in me that voting was important," Dannemiller said. "My mother worked in polling back in the 60s in Chula Vista."

Because of his family history, Dannemiller said he started volunteering and just never stopped. But he said he's not very political.

"I follow elections to some extent," he said. "I don’t take strong positions on things. I just say, I want this candidate, that candidate, no, yes."

He also won't tell people how he voted.

Dannemiller lives in Chula Vista, but has worked at many different polling places, including downtown San Diego and at San Diego City College.

He works as a precinct inspector, which involves supervising the polling place and overseeing the poll workers, picking up supplies and setting up before the polls open, helping people throughout the day and then waiting until the polls close to clean up and drop off supplies.

The job can run from 5:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. As a precinct inspector, Dannemiller gets a $150 stipend.

This year Dannemiller is retiring from his job as a tax preparer, so he feels it’s time to hang up his poll worker hat as well.

But he will take with him some election memories, from two-page ballots that people camped out on the floor to complete to 2014 when San Diego had five elections, and he volunteered in all of them.

Douglas Dannemiller, 70, said he started volunteering at polls back in 1992. But this year Dannemiller is retiring from his job as a tax preparer, so he feels it’s also time to hang up his hat as a poll worker.

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