Election Day Stories

So, JBK and I are up before dawn, stumbling around trying not to trip over the cat, who can’t figure out why we’re up so early and can she please have some espresso, too?  

We head off to the polling place, still dark, that is packed with cars and trucks and people. We hop the jeep up over the curb, park, and dash off to join the line.

It’s a long line.

The doors finally open.

And, a really cool thing happens.

A couple of three youngens behind us yell, “Hey Dr. JBK!”  JBK turns around and there are three of his ex-students from that gawd-awful university in that gawd-awful place in rural red that we’d hoped we left miles behind in the dust, well, except for moments like this.   🙂   So they chat, and the lines are crazy snaked, everyone opting for the paper ballot v electronic, and nobody quite knowing where the lines are, since we’re sort of all jammed in the middle of the room.  JKB is  a gregarious fellow, loud even, and utterly unaware he and his ex-students are now “the” entertainment in the polling station.  They talk math, and physics, and doctoral programs, and masters degrees, and teaching.  (Robyn, I think there was some number theory talk, I couldn’t understand them.)

An elderly black women chimed in that she forgot her glasses and couldn’t read her Bible. She smiles.

I realize at this point that I’m in the middle of party central, so I started chatting to the Bible-toting women and others who are muttering emphatically about wanting to be in the paper ballot line. There are some words about the ability to hack the machines.  There’s a lot of chaos.   It was damn fun.

We voted.  Did you?   🙂

25 comments

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    • kj on November 4, 2008 at 1:55 pm
      Author

    “I voted” stickers at the end of the line. 🙂

  1. but the first election returns are in.

    The town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, with a population of around 75 people and only 21 registered voters, has picked Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to be the next president of the United States. Obama defeated Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) by a margin of 15 votes to 6.

    Dixville Notch, which opens its polls for voting at midnight Eastern time on Monday evening, has been the first town to tally its ballots in the country for decades…

    Dixville Notch has a Republican history, voting for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, while previously voting for both President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996.

    Looking good so far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • kj on November 4, 2008 at 2:36 pm
      Author

    it was just so sweet.  almost a sort of poetic justice, if that actually exists in this world.

    that place in rural red that we left?

    we left behind a huge, huge, huge! chunk of our heart and energy and hope and dreams.

    to turn around four years later and see these young, hopeful faces yelling to my husband, well.  moments like that don’t come around often in this life.  it was a beautiful, unexpected connection to a time and place that still burns a little inside, but maybe less so after this morning’s experience.

    namaste.   life is good.  i am grateful.

    • Robyn on November 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    …were coming out as we went in.  Only one campaign worker outside, for Janice Maly, our local town council member who always supplies me with a new notepad that is just about poem size in length.

    Her opponent wants to freeze the planned reassessment of homes, which I believe means people would pay more than they should in terms of taxes.  On the other hand, she spouts being violently opposed to taxes in general.

    When we left, we followed an African American man and his 3 year-old as they walked to their home a block from the school.  His yard was an Obama garden.

  2. Non-un-American that I am….

    While finishing up evening rounds with the MD I got a page from one of the RNs that I supervise asking me to help her figure out where she and her husband are supposed to vote. I have only a vague understanding of how things work in a practical sense of voting here since I never have. But I made a few suggestions as to where we could google and sure enough I was right took only a few minutes to find the answer. I have been pretty careful not to discuss my preferences with people I directly supervise so I don’t know why she asked for my help.

    A ton of people I worked with voted early, most in fact. I did do some last minute in person conversation thingies with two undecideds I know because they asked my opinion.

    • kj on November 4, 2008 at 3:42 pm
      Author

    the listen and the tells…  gotta go to work now.

    great, wonderful, hopeful, awesome day to all.

    we’re gonna do this this time.  🙂

  3. I went at about 8:30 – polls opened at 7:00. There was NO line. I was in and out in about 10 minutes. The poll workers were so friendly and very well organized!!!!

    I talked to the election judge and he said there had been a long line out the door when they opened at 7:00. And just when I came was the first time no one had to wait.

    I think one of the reasons is that MN has always had one of the highest turnout rates in the country. And my area is one of the highest in the state. So this year was not that different than previous elections.

    I heard on the radio that the MN Sec. of State expects an 80% turnout – we’re usually in the 70’s for a presidential race.

    Happy voting everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • RiaD on November 4, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    jeffrey lieber wrote about how an umbrella can win the election & it got me thinking….

    we’re pretty rural & our voting place is the rural volunteer fire department building. it’s not very big. we’re expecting rain. so i gathered all the umbrellas in my house, made sure they were working & put them in a box. i went to the dollar store & bought 10 more umbrellas ($20)& put them in there too.

    I baked a buncha sugar cookies. and some NO sugar cookies (diabetics, doncha’ know) & packed ’em in lil’ bags. just in case there IS more than a 15 minute wait (unheard of here)

    yesterday i made 12 gallons of tea (sweet & unsweet)  (i bought 500 papercups too)

    I called mr&mrs E (our pollworkers)last night to find out what time they were arriving at the poll so i could drop off this stuff. they were very surprised. & grateful. i gave them my number to call if they needed anything.

    so we go early to get the stuff there & we saw a line at the poll!

    this is unheard of at our place. at 6:45 this morning there were 87 people and us in line to vote. probablly half of them were black. it took almost 45 min!!

    and there was still a line when we left.

    (&people in line were bitching about the 700billion-bail-out & the “fucking war”)

    i hope.

  4. Commun-ity!

    The excitement is in the air for sure!

    • WSComn on November 4, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    One of the places McCain abandoned.

    Polls opened at 7 a.m.  I got there at 6:40.  I was 144th in line.  Voting went fast.  Got out by 8 a.m., voting straight Dem ticket and against the religious right on every proposal (Yes on A and B).  Must have had over 400 people still in line.  It’ll go on like this all day.

    One of the very early voters, after he voted and was leaving, said “Not that it’s going to do any good.” in a disgusted and loud voice as he was leaving.  The only thing I can think of is that that McCain supporter’s Kool-aid was wearing off a little early.

    Too bad…No sympathy.

    GOTV.

    STFIL.

  5. at Penn State this morning at 7:00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ain’t no stopping us now!!!!!!!

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