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I went to vote first thing this morning. When we arrived at our polling place, the line snaked around the vestibule like a confused boa constrictor and went out the door, into the rain. At first I assumed we would be there for hours, but at 7 am precisely, the line began moving and kept going steadily. After 10 minutes, the First Mate and I finally made our way to the check-in station. One of the judges saw me providing sighted-guide to the FM (she's blind) and stopped us.
"Are you going into the booth with her?" the poll worker asked me.
"Yes," I replied, "I do this every year."
"You have to have an election judge go with you," she told us.
Now, I had no real objection to that -- after all, I'm not doing anything wrong and I don't have paranoia about people knowing how I voted. But the statement amused me as much as it irritated my wife, and I challenged the poll worker on it. I told her I had assisted my wife in every election since we'd been married and no one had questioned the legality of doing so before now. She insisted that we needed two judges, one from each party, to supervise my assistance to the FM.
Putting aside the urge to ask why a Green Party judge wasn't needed, I politely asked her to check with the supervisor to determine the necessity of adult supervision for a pair of middle-aged voters. She went off while we checked in, and came back a couple of minutes later to let me know that no supervision was necessary.
Other than that, the entire process went smoothly -- and quickly. Despite having about a hundred people in front of us, the FM and I (and my neighbor/co-worker/buddy, who carpooled with us) finished about twenty minutes after the polls opened. The poll workers constantly swept through the building, insisting that any partisan displays be removed or covered up and reminded the voters that no politicking was allowed within 100 feet of the polling station.
Now that a few hours have gone by, I've read many reports of minor disturbances, although the Milwaukee tire-slashing certainly wasn't minor. MoveOn apparently crowded too close to a number of polling stations here in the Twin Cities, prompting 400 complaints by 10 am, but all in all, the complaints have not involved anyone being barred from polling stations. I'm optimistic that good preparation has led to a smooth operation here in Minnesota.
Keep in mind: You will hear a lot of raw exit-poll numbers during the day today. Exit polling is the least reliable indicator of voter behavior, as it involves subjectively-selected samples. Timing also matters -- earlier voters tend to be students and people with non-traditional jobs, which probably skews the results Democratic. Later samples, where traditional jobholders show up after work, go the other direction. We're only a few hours away from the real thing -- be patient.
Also: Don't forget that I will be blogging all through the night until 3 am CT or someone concedes, whichever comes first. Keep checking back for updates. I will be on AM 1280 The Patriot with the Northern Alliance between 8pm CT until 3 am CT tonight, giving updates on local and regional races and talking with guests during the quarter-hour breaks. (Hugh Hewitt will be on live during the regular Salem programming.) Keep listening for our take on the returns!
Housekeeping: Hosting Matters is trying to keep up with unprecedented levels of traffic. My blog and others may not respond occasionally, but just keep trying back.
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» Midday Update from The Patriette
Well, it's been a busy day. I spent the entire morning knocking on doors and encouraging Republican voters to head to the polls. This afternoon, I made dozens of phone calls on behalf of Bush (you might have my voice... [Read More]
Tracked on November 2, 2004 5:19 PM
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