Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Report from the polling place

I spent 14 hours at South Toe School on Tuesday in my capacity as chief judge of the precinct polling place. This is Alex Hill--who comes from a family that takes its politics with no ice--about to cast her first ballot.

Here are a few notes from the day:

540 people voted at South Toe. I've only done one other election, so I don't know how that compares. The people at the Board of Elections said it was great turnout for a primary.

If I'm remembering right, we had 214 votes for Clinton and 187 for Obama.

Four registered Republicans asked if they could change their registration to unaffiliated and vote in the Democratic primary. I didn't sense that these were Rush Limbaugh Operation Chaos people. They seemed angry and made comments about not wanting to vote for any of the Republicans.

Three unaffiliated voters were upset that they couldn't cast votes in both primaries--feeling that since they are unaffiliated they should be able to vote for anyone they wanted. One guy said it was "ridiculous."

Many people complained that we didn't have any "I Voted" stickers. We'd better get them for November.

Junior McIntyre brought us a lot of pizza--very thoughtful.

Several people took their children into the booth with them. For some this seemed like a matter of expediency, but some made it clear that their kids were voters-in-training.

A few with Democratic ballots commented that they had to make a "hard decision."

Seven or eight people (including Alex) were voting for the first time--mostly they looked 18 or 19, but one person who was well over 60 claimed never to have voted before.

Everyone (really, everyone) was polite and friendly.

Here's our crew of high-stamina poll workers.

Democracy in action. Elpenor Ohle used to say that when tyrants take over the first thing they get rid of is the secret ballot. We've still got it, but let's not take it for granted.

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