Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It took some time to hook up with Blogger this evening. I'm guessing everyone is writing about the vote. Part of the process demands a non-unique experience for each participant. That means by this time tomorrow there will be lots of blogs that all sound exactly the same.

Here's my version:

I got in line to vote at 6:58 this morning. This is what it looked like:

What you don't see is how long the line was behind me. I'd guess it was about 100 yards long.

It took me 30 minutes to get to the machine that eats your ballot. When I got there a friend of ours, Tom, was standing watch over the machine. He was telling everyone that it didn't matter which direction you fed the machine your ballot. Forward, backward, upside down, right side up, the machine would be able to tell who you wanted to act on your behalf in public office. I spoke with Tom for a few minutes. We wondered how long it would take before we knew who the next president would be. "Who knows?" we both said almost simultaneously.

Tom told me something interesting. He said absentee ballots are counted after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. They're unwrapped and each ballot is marched around to the people that check and double check the big books containing the rolls of registered voters. After that it's fed into the counting machine just as if that person had been there to vote for him or herself. Tom told me the town next to ours had reported 30% of eligible voters had used absentee ballots. "They might be there 'til midnight," he said.

Even after hearing this, I'm still leery of being an absentee voter. It just sounds bad. Put absentee in front of any other word and it's not good. -Absentee Dad. Absentee Employee. Absentee Barbecuer. Absentee Fork.- Thankfully I'm usually able to make it to the polls. Unfortunately the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't so lucky. There is concern that the military vote will not be counted. This was a problem in 2000. Supposedly congress took measures to ensure that the people who deserve to have their vote counted the most wouldn't have any worries their voices were heard. Sounds as if these measures weren't enough and the military vote is in jeopardy.

As a Democrat I shouldn't have too much of a problem about this situation considering the military largely votes Republican. But I do. It's so unjust. I realize today's the wrong day to have this occur to me. I should have had this thought months ago. What I could have done beyond a letter or two to my congress person I'm not sure. But a letter or two is more than just spouting off about it after the fact. I'll watch the news and keep my fingers crossed that something like Florida screwing up again by throwing out a soldier's vote just because it arrived without a postmark doesn't happen this year.

Now we wait for the results. My voting number was 96. I was married in '96. That's a good sign. I put all three of our jack-o'-lanterns out by the trash this morning without having scrape them out of the street with a shovel. That's a good sign. I checked CNN at 10:00 a.m. today and they hadn't called the race yet. Yet another good sign. Speaking of which, have you seen the CNN Web page for exit poll data? It's like the dashboard for a nuclear reactor. http://www.cnn.com Just enter your zip code and you are dialed in like Tokyo.

What that last line means I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure it's something positive. I was on the phone once with a guy from Poway, California who sounded like the consummate surfer dude. He said it to me. Since then I find myself searching for excuses to use it whenever I can.

John Kerry. He's dialed in like Tokyo.

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