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hat, smile, happy

Voting in St. Louis, Missouri

  • Nov. 4th, 2008 at 11:36 AM
beckyzoole
The news reported two-hour waits at the polls this morning, with people lining up as early as 4:00 AM. So my husband and waited until the early rush was over.

We got to our polling place, a middle school gymnasium, at 10:53 AM. To our surprise, there was no line out the door. In fact, there were only four people ahead of me.

A poll worker told me that voting had been heavy earlier. People had wanted to vote before they went to work, or had just wanted the excitement of being in line to vote early. By 10:30, though, they had had time to refill the coffee pot. (She gestured to a small table under the far basketball hoop. It held a water dispenser and an already-empty-again coffee maker.) I had brought several forms of identification, but my voter ID card was good enough.

My husband and I both chose paper ballots. I took mine to the closest empty voting booth, and immediately returned to the election judge's table. Someone had left a flier urging "VOTE FOR OBAMA" in the booth. I handed the flier to him, saying that I thought it was illegal to be given electioneering material in the booth. The election judge nodded vigorously as he ripped the flier in half. Then he got up and started walking past all the empty booths, peering in them for more rogue fliers. I was, frankly, grateful to see him return with empty hands. I'd been worried that some over-zealous volunteer had been up to election dirty tricks. But, it seems, the flier in my booth had simply been dropped or left behind carelessly.

I started grinning as I marked my ballot, carefully filling in the oval beside my candidate's name. What a great, historic election this is! What a privilege to be able to vote in it! The exhilaration held as I marked my choices for various amendments and propositions. (No, I do not want the gambling loss limits repealed; yes, I do want the electric company to be required to develop renewable energy sources; OMG, what a great country this is, I have such hope for the future!)

By 11:10, we had inserted our ballots in the box. It whirred alarmingly like a paper shredder. The poll worker said it was performing a quick scan for validity, and would spit back some of the most egregiously invalid ballots. "We don't catch all of them", he admitted, "but we want to avoid a Florida situation if we can". The machine also counted the ballots as they were entered.

I didn't pay attention to my count, but my husband, who was a few minutes behind me, entered paper ballot number 1133. The polls had opened at 6:00 AM, so our little urban neighborhood polling place was averaging 219 voters per hour in paper ballots alone. (The dozen or so electronic voting machines were all in use, too.)

In a few minutes I'll be heading out to a polling place in an affluent area of west St. Louis county, to help my brother by handing out VOTE FOR ZOOLE fliers. My brother Mark Zoole is running in the 87th district for the Missouri house of Representatives. He's running as a Democrat in a district that consistently returns Republicans to the statehouse, so we do not have high hopes. Still, Mark does have a chance: not only might all Democrats ride the sick-of-Bush wave, but the incumbent was indicted last summer for statutory rape. (The incumbent is not running for re-election, alas for my brother's chances of victory...)

I'll post later about the polls and the mood in the 87th District.

Comments

( Comment )
ysathora wrote:
Nov. 4th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
No, I do not want the gambling loss limits repealed; yes, I do want the electric company to be required to develop renewable energy sources

Same here.
morgaath wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
Good Luck to your brother.
beckyzoole wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
Thank you!

What's so neat about the political process is that just an ordinary guy can run for state representative, or mayor, or any one of a number of small local offices. Then, if they've got that special something that catches the public eye, they can go on directly from there to become a senator, or a governor, and eventually a presidential candidate.

My brother, however, is not so ambitious. I don't think....
( Comment )