There’s a story behind every one of our volunteers who work the polls on Election Day. What motivates them to serve? What do they do when they are not helping us?
Now you can find out. We are introducing this new feature to share a glimpse into their lives.
On football Sundays, Gloria Miller can be found wearing the silver and black of her beloved Oakland Raiders.
On Election Tuesdays, however, the Concord woman trades in her attire for red, white and blue cardigans.
After years of being unable to volunteer, Miller, 75, became a Contra Costa poll worker in 2008. She now is an inspector at the Montecito location in Clayton.
“I don’t like to commit to volunteering unless I know I can follow through and have no other obligations,” Gloria said. Work as a typesetter, taking care of her children and later grandchildren prevented her from helping.
When she finally was able to free up the time to be a Contra Costa poll worker, she was all in.
Part of being in the right “frame of mind” is her attire, she said, adding that she wears her election pins so people “know you’ve done this before.”
Miller quickly found that the skills she developed doing various jobs at Diablo Dealer advertising newspaper served her well as a poll worker.
“You want to be consistent and not try to micro-manage,” the former supervisor said. “Most of them know what they are doing and are astute.”
Gloria says that being a poll worker fulfills her desire to help out her country and state and she enjoys the “incredible feeling” of meeting new people and sharing stories and having fun with her crew. Of course, the extra stipend money for the holidays doesn’t hurt either.
“I’m just a very patriotic person. Sometimes I get pretty angry and frustrated when I hear from others who aren’t, especially when I hear young people say ‘What’s the use of voting,’” she said.
It doesn’t take much to figure out that Miller is also passionate about her Raiders; in fact, the long-time season ticket holder said she’s referred to as “Grandma” at Raider games by those in her section.
Gloria’s apartment wall is an homage to the legends of the team’s past, where ticket stubs and encased footballs are displayed proudly, along with posters and framed pictures of head coach John Madden, Jim Otto, George Blanda and, of course, her personal favorite, the late Ken Stabler.
Stabler, who passed away this year, is a candidate to be selected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this January before Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.
Possibly witnessing that potential history is an opportunity Gloria does not want to miss.“Hopefully he will be picked,” she said.
Gloria is excited about the Raiders improvement this year, including young stars quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Gloria applied and was selected as a volunteer for Super Bowl 50, where one of the venues she will work is “Super Bowl City” – the fan village area in downtown San Francisco held during the two weeks leading up to the big game.
“It’s the 50th anniversary. It’s so big and it’s so historical. And it’s right here in our own backyard! I wanted to be a part of history,” Gloria said.