Tragedy and voting

Another big story in our area this weekend was the cold blooded shooting of a popular police officer, Michael King, in University City. A senseless killing, because he was in his marked car and the man who shot him just walked up and shot him, for no known reason. Incredibly sad, and difficult for the community because the officer was white, the alleged shooter is black, and this has led to some strongly racist comments associated with the story.

U City is only a couple of miles from where I live. As has happened with other official funerals there will be a police procession after the services, escorting the coffin to the cemetery. When these processions happen, the street where I live is closed off, which is fair and right. However, and I’m not sure anyone was thinking of this when they planned the funeral for tomorrow, that street is also the only way to get our local community’s polling place, the Cure of Ars Church.

This is one of the more popular polling places, especially in the middle of the day because of the number of retired people in the area. To close the street, and access to this polling place right in the middle of what is expected to be a record voter turn out…Well, this is not going to be a good thing.

I called the county election officials and they’re aware of the conflict. They’re not sure what to do, just yet. I believe though that by law, access to the polling place has to be kept open. I have a huge sympathy for the Officer’s family, but I have to wonder at the funeral home not being aware that this was going to cause a conflict, and recommend the funeral be held on Wednesday.


Viva la vote

The line to vote was quite long but the crowd of primarily retired folk was friendly. As I got to the check-in desk I realized I didn’t have my wallet, so home I went to grab it. When I returned I noticed a great deal of black clothing. Yes, a great deal of black clothing. The Seminary next door had just got out of class and all the Seminary students and their priest professors had arrived to vote.

It was a novel experience: voting for Amendment 2 among dozens of Catholic priests. Perhaps I should have brought my camera after all.

I checked with the vote results tonight and McCaskill and Talent and Amendment 2 are close, very close. The vote did not follow religious lines as much as it is following urban/rural lines. I don’t want to wait up, though, to see the finals. I’ll see it in the morning.

I read over at Ralph’s, his reminisce of old voting machines, which was funny because that was one of the things we talked about in line. I was chatting with a younger, pregnant woman about the Diebold machines when an even younger man in front of her asked something about them–I think it was the seeming lack of privacy with the newer machines. The older lady behind me mentioned how she missed the old machines, where you pulled the lever and a curtain closed and it was just you and the switches.

I mentioned that you really felt like you voted with a machine like that: the snapping sound as you pushed the switches for each vote, the effort needed to pull the lever, which counted the votes and opened the curtain. The young man didn’t know what I was talking about, of course: too young. He grew up with punch cards leaving little chads hanging underneath.

Don remembers those old machines, I bet. He wrote tonight about going with his parents when they voted using a big old paper ballot, and marking your choices while you all were seated at a table:

When I was a child, my mother and father voted in the Kendrick Elementary School cafeterium (lunchroom) in South Waco. The ballots were paper, and quite large. There were no booths or isolated places to mark ballots. Voters went to the low lunchroom tables, and sat and voted in full view of their neighbors. I usually went with them when they voted in the afternoon. A woman who moved to Waco from Ohio once told me how uncomfortable it made her feel to vote without a booth on ballots as big as a paper table cloth.

Can’t you just close your eyes and picture the scene? Folks bundled up against the cold, sitting at those old folding lunch room tables, under the harsh fluorescent lights–large paper ballots pushed up next to each other, people either trying very hard to peek, or trying very hard not to peek.

After the vote, I felt too hyper to come home and work. Today was a good day for errands. All four of my tires were pounds too light, so I aired them up, an oddly fitting activity for election day. Went shopping, too, as well as to Starbuck’s where I treated myself to a latte AND one of their cinnamon-sugar homemade cake donuts. I also took movies back to my county library, and picked up three new ones (“Terminal”, “Absolute Power”, and “Constantine”). As I went from the store to the library, I’d pass people, or be standing next to people, and we’d just start chatting. We’d all voted and we felt like we’d been let out of prison, or at a minimum, released for recess. We were giddy. Yes, giddy.

Don also mentions some of this; how difficult this vote was. He’s also right when he talks about with all that was discussed with this election–loudly, emphatically, and above all, angrily–we still haven’t addressed the true core issues we need to be discussing.

I read over at Sheila’s about CNN’s little ‘blog-in’ coverage of the election results. With plenty of food and beverages, natch. I hope they had fun, got a lot to eat and drink, but I beg to differ with CNN: that’s not weblogging. Same as the election today: that’s not democracy. We can’t go in once every two years and ignore what happens in our government the rest of the time. We also can’t continue to be polarized over issues. Every time we are, we lose a little more of a our freedom, a little more of our rights. Corporate fodder. That’s what voters are today, corporate fodder.

I think that we all, most of us, have more in common with each other than the people we elect. I voted for Claire McCaskill, but she, like all politicians, like her competitor Talent, sees the world a different way than people like you and me. I respect her, what she stands for and voted for her, but I liked that priest today wearing the hand knitted vest; gently taking a little old lady’s hand in his and asking her how she was doing, as if her answer was all that mattered. I doubt he and I agreed on many issues today–in fact, chances are if he follows his church’s recommendations, we disagree strongly on most issues–but he seemed like a nice man, and very real. He didn’t look like an Agent of Oppression, Destroyer of Science, or Pusherman for God.

I’m babbling, aren’t I? That’s OK. It’s OK to babble in one’s weblog–well, as long as you don’t babble for pay, or if you do so, you disclose.

Back to Ralph’s and Don’s posts and the election. Though I’m worried about the election results, I feel cheered by their words; their’s and the comments left by others in my earlier posts. Enormously cheered, in fact. That’s good because it looks like the races that meant the most to me are probably going to lose. I guess that means the priest with the sweater is happy. Good. Good for you Father, whoever and wherever you are.

Unless my vote ends up on the winning side, in which case: neener neener.


Spirits Lighten

It’s an odd thing, but after I voted today, I felt revitalized – is if a huge weight has dropped off. I want to work in code and plan my Ozarks trip (now Thursday as the weather blows), and write things and even watch the returns tonight.

All from punching holes in a card and making sure no little whatyoucallums are stuck on the back. It’s done, done, done, done, and there’s nothing left to do, do, do, do, except move on.

Please let there be a clear winner tonight.

I did find out that my ISP hosts several Florida county supervisor sites, so expect the site to go up and down all day today. At one point, looked like an even dozen servers were down. The American Election has become a Dos (Denial of Service) to the Internet.



I haven’t voted yet, decided not to add to the times of the people who are voting before going to work. Since I work from home, I can vote anytime during the day, though I plan on going over in a bit.

I received email about how to vote pro-life, sent by the Archbishop who sets up shop in the offices on the other side of the church where I’ll vote. I am curious if he’ll try to add some kind of influence at the polling place. Normally, though, the people who run the polls at this church are meticulous about preventing any such thing. We’ll see in a bit.

When you vote, you can save time by selecting a straight party line vote. I am voting straight party line, but will still vote individually. Democrats, of course. There wasn’t one Republican in this state who didn’t bring up that their most important concern is the prevention of gay marriage. I only hope when these people meet their God someday that he proves as intolerate of them, as they are of everyone else.

Well, that was a piece of cake. No waiting since I was the white ballot machines, and the current flurry was the green machines. I just missed the flurry of white machine voters. Go me.

No muss, no fuss.

There was a funeral going on at the same time, though. Interesting to see a gold hearse right out in front of the entrance to your polling place.

second update

I had a feeling my timing was good. According to this Bloomberg story:

In Palm Beach County, Florida, a Democratic stronghold, the wait was as long as an hour and a half. In Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, voters who arrived when the polls opened at 6 a.m. had to wait an hour.

Yup, that’s my area, though most likely not my polling place.


No Kansas City Tomorrow

The Techwatch people never did respond to any of my inquiries as to where I’m supposed to be tomorrow; or about the hours and what I need to do, so I won’t be going to Kansas City after all.

I tried to volunteer to drive voters to the polls tomorrow, but it was too late. I guess all I can do on tomorrow’s momentous day is get up early and go vote, before the buses bring in all those senior citizens from all the retirement communities that surround us.

I posted some old, old poems, but I’m not poet (which is warning). Today seemed a good time to do it. I know–odd. Don’t worry, I’ll only do this on the eve of critical presidential elections.

I’ve been pushing at those working for this candidate or another lately, but that’s my burnout with this election, not with the volunteers who have worked hard to get their person elected. I admire such hard work, and good on you.

But unlike the excited anticipation elsewhere, I just feel let down – like today’s Christmas day (or whatever holiday of your choice) and we’ve opened the presents and all the fun is over with. You know the feeling. I am glad that the race is over, but I wonder what it will leave in its wake.

I was feeling low enough that I actually went to some of the sites that raise my blood pressure, in order to incite a little of the old burn. At Instapundit I read the following:

ARE WE REALLY MORE DIVIDED THAN WE’VE EVER BEEN? I recently asked my mother whether this election was, as everyone I work with keeps assuring me, “the nastiest election ever.” I live on the Upper West Side, three blocks from the house I grew up in, and honestly, this election feels to me very much the same as the elections of 1984, 1988 and 1992, when we also had Republican incumbents: the daily predictions of apocalypse should the incumbent be re-elected, the virulent and vicious hatred unleashed in logorrheic torrents every time his name was mentioned, the threats to leave the country if the Republican was returned to office .

But I was a schoolgirl then, and couldn’t vote, and it’s very possible that my memories are not representative, since most of my teachers ranged between the liberal democratic and the hard left. So I asked my mother, who remembers those days more clearly.

(Emphasis mine)

Instapundit was a schoolgirl!?! Damn! Instasexchange, I guess.

Took me a couple of moments to realize that Glenn Reynolds is having guest authors.

(P.S. Vote tomorrow, or I’ll publish more poetry.)