I Voted!

i_voted_stickerBelow is my semi-live blog of the experience. Let us know how it went for you in comments!

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6:38 — I arrive at my polling place to find the parking lot nearly full.  I don’t usually vote first thing, so I don’t know if this is typical.  Dear Husband, who almost always votes before work, says it’s not.  The white van with the Sarah! sticker is there.  Yikes!  I’m probably the 70th person in line.

6:45 – Can’t see the end of the line behind me now; it’s wrapped around the building.  Everyone is quiet.  This is a heavily Republican precinct.  A man in front of me jokes that he’ll vote for whoever hands out free coffee.  I wouldn’t mind some coffee.  My choice to wear shorts in anticipation of the 75° predicted high was not the best, in retrospect.  Good thing I have a sweatshirt.  And comfortable shoes.  Prissy woke me up at 4:30 this morning; I hope Obama puts this away early tonight.

6:51 – I balance purse, book, and a tiny mirror and slap on some eye makeup.  Need to look good for such a historic occasion.  See a few people I know and wonder how they’re voting.  The guys in front of me discuss the virtues of SUVs and trucks.

6:58 – Will they open on time?

6:59 – Doors open!  This has always been an efficient polling place; we’ll see if it is today.  I search the line and finally see one black face.  I’m close to the door, but the poll workers are calling in different alphabetical groups to fill in the shorter lines.  A man in front of me points out an 18-year-old voter in line behind us, remembering that the age requirement was still 21 when he was 18.  A-C, N-R, and E-H go ahead of us, but the wait isn’t long.

7:10 – I’m inside, about 10 back in the I-M line.  There’s a dad behind me explaining the process to his 6-year-old son, telling him that he’ll get to vote in a presidential election in 12 years.  Cool!  My hands are shaking.  Good thing I didn’t have that coffee after all.

7:18 – I get my ballot and look for a place to mark it.  Get a seat at a table and pull out my sample ballot.  Can feel the people around me going, “Oh, shit, she’s going to take forever.”  I’m so worried about spoiling the ballot.  I carefully trace each oval and then fill it in completely with my black pen, trying to make sure I don’t color outside the lines.  I write in my pal John Crenshaw for Congress — as usual, Bachus (R-of course) has no oppositon.  I write in Dan Weinrib for county tax assessor as he should have been the Dem candidate.  I even vote on all the ridiculous constitutional amendments we’re forced to consider here in Alabama with our crappy, outmoded, Constitution…I try not to peek at my neighbor’s votes, but just as I stand up, I see another ballot marked for Obama.  Think about giving a total stranger a high five, decide it wouldn’t be prudent.

7:24 – I’m done!  My ballot is #98 on the optical scanner (the other one has a count in the 90s as well).  I get my sticker and head outside.  The line is much shorter now; the before-work rush is done.  Now it’s all over but the waiting.

I have my reservations about Obama.  I definitely have my reservations about some of his internet supporters.  He won’t be perfect; he’ll track too much to the middle for my taste.  I don’t know if he’ll ever address the blatant, nasty sexism that was on display during the campaign.  But at the same time, I’m awed by the experience of voting for the man who will likely be the first African-American president of the United States.  It’s chill-bump territory.

8 Responses to “I Voted!”

  1. Cindi says:

    I hit the polling place right at 7am. There was already a line around the building. And, interestingly enough, there were signs for just about every person running for obscure office…but absolutely NO Obama signs to be found anywhere. I thought that strange.

    There were, at best guess, about 300 people ahead of me. I had no idea we had that many folks in the neighborhood. Our polling place changed this year from an elementary school (where all was organized and ran like clockwork) to a baptist church gym (where it was total chaos inside).

    Considering the number of folks ahead of me, waiting 1 1/2 hours to receive my ballot didn’t seem like that long, even with the lack of organization. It didn’t take long to complete. Although, I, like you was very careful on my coloring within the lines! Even though I’m a blue person in a red state, I wanted no chances that my vote wouldn’t be recorded!

    And, as it seems to be in the past decade or two, I voted straight Democrat. But…I was sure to fill in each oval and not just the straight Dem oval at the top. And the only amendment I voted on was a local one to allow the city to label certain dogs as “dangerous” and force euthanisia on dogs such as pits, rots, dobes, etc. As one who finds spirituality in each animal (even spiders though I don’t like to admit it) I can’t in good conscience allow the city to indescriminately kill dogs because they don’t like the way they look. Anybody who has any sense knows that dogs are what you train them to be. There are laws that protect against animal aggression. We don’t need to pre-emptively kill them. (Such a republican ideal, pre-emptive is).

    Anyhow, glad that my voting is done and comfortable with the choices I made. Now the waiting starts.

  2. kayman says:

    Yeah, I voted this morning on the Southside at Glen Iris Elementary, and I did see a McCain-Palin campaign sign posted in the front of the school’s property. Oh well! I stood in line for an hour and 20 minutes even though I had gotten there at 6:45, and voted for Obama, against Sessions, Bell Paseur (even though neither her or Shaw deserve to be elected after wasting $1M campaigning for a justice position on the State Supreme Court), Davis, NO on the Amendment 1, and abstained on the Jefferson County Treasury and Tax Assessor along with Civil Appeals and Circuit postions because it is pointless because none of these people will be able to legislate from the position. Oh well, I’m on with my day which includes coursework and studying for an exam.

  3. Tricia says:

    I was #300 (at the scanner on the right, there were two).

    Apparently it was madness when the polls opened at 7, but by the time I strolled in with large mocha and a book in hand at 8:20 the line wasn’t too long at all. However, when I passed my old polling place (the firehouse on Clairmont) on my way in to the office, the line was around the building.

  4. Kathy says:

    Yay for voting! Cindi, good for you for voting against the dog-killing amendment. And spiders are valuable members of our ecosystem — any creature that keeps down the pest population is okay by me. :)

    Oddly, I didn’t see a single campaign sign near my polling place. I drove by another Methodist church on the way to work and saw a line of them right up next to the street.

  5. Jeff (no, the other one) says:

    Montgomery: I was voter #187. High, high turnout, compared to what I’ve seen in 8 years voting here; much more age-group and racially diverse than the usual retirement-age white people. Saw a car tag that said “Y-WECAN”.

    Campaign signs all seemed to be legal distance from the polling. Saw a big cluster of Obama-Biden signs, but only noted a couple scattered McCain-Palins.

    As I was driving away, saw a guy getting his robes on, dressing as either Moses or some kind of Old Testament prophet — sorry I couldn’t stay for that.

    My wife said Bell Road Y polling place had a line out the door and around the building at 7:10am.

    From meteor blades at Kos:

    Frederick Douglass, in 1857 said:

    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.

    Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

  6. Bill says:

    I voted.

  7. Helen says:

    I was at the Firehouse on Claremont. Am scheduled to poll watch at Glen Iris, so I went there first at 6:30 to be was sworn in (so as not to interrupt tis afternoon if it’s busy) and got to my polling place at 7:15. The line was way around the corner and past the fire station, but moved pretty quickly and I was out by 8 (also the L-R line was faster than the e-k and s-z lines on each side). One poll worker appeared to be very ‘deliberate’ when finding names.

    Folks were friendly and patient and the weather glorious. We were lined up into the street and the Sheriff’s office came by to increase ‘order’ a bit.

    I also met a poll watcher there who is interested in becoming involved in some City issues, so got a little dividend.

    My son, who works in a very tall building next to Millenium park, voted in Downtown Chicago early. He said Cook County divided lines into City and suburbs and it went quickly. He will be ‘present’ at the Obama rally–from the 29th or 30th floor where he works till about 8 each evening.

    I saw one of our favorite writers at Dia de los Muertos on Sunday he was happily heading to Chicago with a ticket to the big tent!

    Am hoping the poll closes out punctually and I get to friends’ home in time for “Indecision 2008″

    Running out the door!

  8. Don says:

    LATE VOTING REPORT: Other than standing in line for maybe 10 minutes at a time I thought would be a lull time for voting, the only problem I had was finding the way to enter my polling site at the Mulder Memorial Methodist church in rural Elmore County. For all previous elections everyone entered and exited through the same double doors at the side of the fellowship hall of the church. Today, (I suspect) anticipating a large turnout, especially at the 7am opening of the site, they designated those doors to be for exiting only, and one had to enter by a rear door and walk around several hallways to enter the voting room. I voted around 1pm and my wife at around 2pm. She also had to wait in line a short while. When she put her ballot in the optical scanner (one of two) it registered nearly 4,000 votes. That’s as many or more than the total of both scanners usually is for elections there.

    Oh, BTW, as promised, I didn’t vote for either major party candidate or even any of the minor party candidates that were listed on my ballot. I cast a protest vote of conscience against the two party system that has become almost a one party system when it comes to actually governing rather than spewing party rhetoric

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