I’m Just Not Impressed

Am I supposed to be?

Archive for November 2008

It was a dark and stormy morning.

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I woke up at 5:15 this morning.  It was dark.  It was chilly.  It was election day! 

I stumbled to the bathroom, threw on some clothes, stopped to make coffee, let the dog out and clean up some spilled apple juice, then I was out the door into the early morning dark and chill.  Happily, it was not yet raining.

I should have walked to the polling place – it’s only about 5 blocks away, but it was 5:30 and I was tired and not thinking clearly.  As it was, I got one of the last spots in the community center lot and joined a line that was already half a block long – at 5:35!  I’d guess that there were at least 100 people in line ahead of me. 

By the time the polls opened at 6, the line was starting to snake around the corner.

In one of those strange DC area coincidences, I started chatting with a couple of folks near me in line and it turns out that a man who had been voting at our polling place for 45 years used to live in NW Iowa near Sioux City and he would drive down to Springfield, Missouri every weekend fifty years ago to play at a country music bar there.   Two people behind him was a woman who grew up on a farm outside of St. Louis and who went to college at what was then called SMSU, where my mother worked for when I was born and later moved to Chicago.  So, we ended up chatting a lot about the Ozarks and Branson and Eureka Springs, Arkansas for the duration of our wait.  Maybe we live in a small town after all.

Once the doors opened at 6:00, the line moved fast.  Poll workers were on the ball, walking up and down the lines with portable electronic check in machines confirming that anyone voting at our precinct for the first time was actually on the voter rolls properly.  Check in was the most comprehensive I’d ever seen – they didn’t just check to see that our id matched a voter registration, but we had to give our full name and address – at least I did.  Again, this was electronic.

Then it was get in the last and final line for the vote itself.  We had a choice between touch screen machines and paper scan ballots.  I ended up going electronic – it was a fight in my gut – part of me had been hoping for the paper option and evidently a lot of local media watchers are saying that is better.  Then again, a friend of mine is now worried that her vote won’t be readable because the election officers at her Fairfax County polling place didn’t have pencils or black pens, which the ballot claims to require.   She has thusfar been unable to get a satisfactory answer to that issue. 

The last time I felt such a thrill marking and finalizing my ballot was in 1992, when for the first time ever, I had a ballot in my hand.  I voted absentee from college, which was sort of a letdown, although, given the tales of long lines at the campus precincts, it definitely saved me some time.  I remember filling out the ballot with the little punch card thing, frantically worrying about whether I was doing it right before sealing the envelope, kissing it for luck and sending it off to McLean County with its votes for Bill Clinton and Carol Mosley Braun.  That year I helped elect the first Black woman to the U.S. Senate.  Here’s hoping this year I help elect the first Black man president.

As we wait for the election returns tonight, I will leave you with this.  That’s pretty much what it’s all about right there.

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Written by emandink

November 4, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Election 2008, Politics

Tagged with ,