November 2, 2010

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I write on Nov. 3, having only the sketchiest of information about yesterday’s total election results. But I don’t write from inside a soundproof booth either.

Yesterday I spent 7 1/2 hours on election judge duty in a precinct ten or so miles from home. My assignment was to hand out and explain ballots, so I had eye contact with hundreds of voters from 2 p.m. till the polls closed at 8 p.m. My precinct was in a prosperous part of town, and the predominant “face” I saw was much younger than I, often with one or more little kids in tow. There were few who appeared to be anywhere near as old as I am. Except for a tiny number of “road rage” types – you can’t avoid these – the overwhelming majority were unfailingly polite and gracious – people you’d like to know. I don’t recall seeing anyone who appeared to be “down and out” in any sense of those words.

My work partner for the entire day was of the opposite political party. That is an absolute requirement for election day workers. There were ten of us in all who worked in this particular precinct yesterday. There is no way to tell who is Republican, Democrat or other in such a setting, except that you know your work partner is of another party, most always the other major party.

Invariably these are all truly “nice” people just wanting to serve and to assure the election is conducted fairly. My work partner was one of those truly nice people. So were the others.

With inevitable exceptions, the work relationship we had in my precinct likely happens in most every precinct in any community in any state.

There is little drama in voting locations on election day.

There was a very heavy voter turnout in my assigned precinct, and a very large number of on-site registrations due to the fact that there were many first-time voters at the location. This was due to recent construction in the neighborhood. We didn’t have long lines. The flow was reasonable and constant. There was no down time.

At the end of the evening election workers don’t just leave and go home. We all had to stick around to help clean up, and most importantly to witness and verify that the vote count reported to the county was as it was recorded by the electronic reader which received the paper ballots.

In all, we spent well over an hour on the final tasks.

Near the end of the time we were all read the machine tally of the votes recorded in our precinct for the major races.

I can fairly say the vote in the precinct was overwhelmingly very, very conservative.

There were no “high fives” or bursting into tears, or fist fights among the ten election workers.

There was a whole lot of quiet after the returns were read in that room last night.

Duties completed, we bade each other farewell and went our separate ways.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010, was indeed a fork in the national road.

It remains to be seen exactly what that means.

My clock reads 4:34 a.m. The Minneapolis paper was just delivered. Shortly I’ll see the first of endless reports and opinions….

Related post, here.