My plan was to vote at around 10am this morning, after the people with day jobs had had a chance at it, but as I woke up at 6:20 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, and the dryer repairman came at 7:55 and was done by 8:15, Al asked me if I wanted to go vote with him. I agreed, figuring that if the lines were too long, I would just come back later.

The line *was* long, but Al held my place while I went to get a coffee 4 blocks away, and by the time I returned he'd made it about halfway through. It was only about another 15 minutes or so after that. I'd intended to bring my camrea with me, but in the rush to head out with Al I forgot it. As soon as I'm done writing this, I'll head back out to take election-day photos.

Some observations on the day so far:

  • What's wrong with waving? I woke up to lots of honking, and I thought, "Jeez, don't you realize this is a residential neighborhood? Get over your petty commuter issues about who pulled out in front of whom and give the horn a break!" After passing a woman holding up a HONK FOR KERRY sign at the corner of 20th and the Ben Franklin Parkway on the way for coffee, however, I'm now wondering if all the honking wasn't in anger, but in support of our next president. Either way, I wish that woman had encouraged people to WAVE FOR KERRY instead of honk.
  • Looking for trouble I overheard a guy a few people in front of us in the voting line questioning the volunteer pollworker about whether there were any sample ballots in Spanish. When she replied that she didn't know, he said, "well, there are SUPPOSED TO BE!" Pollworker: "Do you need one? Or do you know of anyone else here who needs one?" Man: "No, but THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE AVAILABLE." Pollworker: "Let me ask." When she returned, she pointed out that the sample ballots were already bilingual (every party was listed in both English and Spanish, as were the instructions for voting). The man reached for the ballot she was holding and quickly scanned it. "There's nothing on here about provisional ballots. You have to tell people that they're entitled to cast a provisional ballot." Personally, I'm convinced that if someone who spoke only Spanish showed up and was denied the right to vote, someone else in the line would have told him or her about the provisional ballot option. There are just too many people itching for a fight here to have it happen otherwise.
  • Riiiiiiiiiight Al's plan was to vote a straight Democratic ticket (he was a bit nervous that it wouldn't work correctly, so he ended up voting one candidate at a time). When he came out of the booth, he said to me, "I think that volunteer [a different one than the woman with the ballot] was a Republican." Me: "What makes you say that?" Al: "When I walked up to the booth, she said, 'If you want to vote a straight party ticket, just press here, where it says "Republican."'"
  • What does it take to get a ticket in this town? After voting, I walked Al to work. At the corner of 17th and Market, we opted not to cross with the green because we didn't get a head start, and if it turned yellow, I wasn't going to be able to run. (I'm feeling a lot of pressure from the baby this morning.) While we waited, we noticed a cop pull up to the red light on Market, while none of the traffic with the green light was moving. Turns out it was because the first car in line, a cab, was taking on a passenger. He finally went just as the light turned yellow—and not one but THREE cars behind him ran the red light. The cop just looked after them, and drove on.
  • Yikes! On the way home, I found myself approaching the corner of 16th and JFK just as a fire truck was pulling up to block three lanes of traffic on JFK (there was already a cop car blocking one). As I crossed JFK, I saw the reason for the blockage: there was a man lying under a bloody sheet with paramedics and firemen attending him. I don't know whether he was hit by a car or what, but it wasn't pretty.

More observations (and photos!) from Election Day later...

Posted by Lori in civics and politics at 10:07 AM on November 2, 2004


Alright, way to get that vote out!

I had to laugh at the people running the red light. Honest to God, down here in Nashville If you get a green light you had better count to two then look both ways, because red means speed through the light.

Also nobody down here ever uses turn signals. If the turn signal is on, they probably bought the car that way.

Happy Election Day!!!

Posted by: Stephen at November 2, 2004 10:18 AM

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