Elections 2018: My day in sketches

Two years ago, I volunteered for the very first time at an election booth. I might have been sad about the way that election went, but it was heartening to see democracy in action. (Sketches from that day here).

Yesterday I went back. Volunteering to work at the polls requires a 3 hour training, followed by a few hours of setup the night before the election and atleast a 16 hour day on Election Day. Super hectic, with many different tasks to keep in mind and lots of procedures to follow. Here are sketches done in snatched bits of my day. I just kept my book and kit by me through the day, (sometimes on the floor under the table I worked at) open on the current spread I was working on, pen, waterbrush and palette on top of the open spread. And I added bits to the spread when I could.

6:00am Starting setup, scrambling to be ready to open the polls at 7am. There were people waiting outside, ready to vote.

9:25am Bit of a lull as the pre-workday crowd is gone. A steady stream of voters remains, just no lines for a while.

11:00am My lunch break. Yup, In-N-Out Burger. A double-double with grilled onions. Extra sauce on the side. And a sketch.election_2018_lunch2.jpg
Noon Back at the polling station. So many people come in with their mail-in ballots. They joke about coming in for their “I VOTED” sticker. Everyone loves stickers.

2-3:00 pm Pre-evening lull again. It means people feel like they can take their time filling in that long ballot. 3 pages, 2 sided. Exhausting. This guy spent a long time pondering stuff. You could see it in his body language.

4:00pm ish? People start coming in with their kids. This is the point in my sketchbook where you can see I’m tiring.


Close to 8:00pm Almost poll closing time. Too exhausted to sketch anymore. Once we close polls at 8:00p, there’s till atleast 2 hours of work left to be done to make sure everything is secured and handed over.

I get home after 10pm. One bit stands out from the day:
People bring their best selves to the polls. Everyone is so nice, even when waiting in line on a workday. I hear more thank yous today than I do in the rest of my year.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Activism, california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, people, reportage, san jose, Silicon Valley, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Elections 2018: My day in sketches

  1. Stephanie says:

    You are nothing short of AMAZING, Suhita!!!! And voting is such an honor and a privilege, isn’t it?


  2. Annie says:

    Thank you for volunteering in this way. And another big thanks for sharing it, in words and paintings!


  3. Nice sketches, I didn’t realize volunteering for an election was a 16 hour day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. miatagrrl says:

    Thanks for your service, Suhita! And amazing all that you were able to document that day! Wash. State is all mail-in, and though it’s more efficient and probably more people vote because of it, I miss the social part of going to the polls. And the sticker.

    – Tina


  5. What a great collection of sketches, Suhita. And amazing you got so many in on such a busy (yay! ) day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Suma CM says:

    Wow. Love, love, love this documentary of your day. Since I’ve never actually been to the polls here in CA (always mail-in/drop-off) it was really interesting to see how this differed from the ones I’m familiar with from CT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Suma, I’ve never seen a different system. This one fascinates me: high-touch and old school for the most part. Probably costs a lot more than a full mail-in system but there are bits of it that will be missed when we inevitably go for a more efficient model.


  7. Great collection. I think I need to ‘loosen up’ as far as sketching goes. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂


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