Tuesday, November 4, 2008

General Election Day 2008

General Election Day roundabout Exit 151 dawned golden – bright overcast and mild. Perfect weather for a heavy turnout!

Ginkgo leaves

I'm going to blog this day in parts, because it seems the thing to do. The text flows readily enough, but the pix will have to catch up as they can.

Part 1, about 11 a.m.: DH needed to vote before work, so we went early to our polling place, a public school gymnasium. Outside, things looked pretty much the same as the midterm election two years ago, except now the signs are more inclusive.

Vote aqui hoy sign   Handicapped access sign

Inside, mostly everyone was cheerful except for one guy who kept sidling along until I told him (twice) there's a line, which went back and forth across the gym floor three times. Photography is not permitted inside NJ polling places, so a photo of my sock taken after the fact will have to do. It's well-known that knitters have the amazing superpower to make lines move quicker by working on a sock.

Post factum sock photo

While knitting and waiting, I had a cordial chat with the poll worker guarding the provisional ballots. She arrived at 5:15 a.m. and is staying until the last voter has voted (the doors are closed and locked at 8:00 p.m.; anyone inside may vote). Three cheers for the dedicated poll workers! She expressed surprised concern at the number of provisional ballots already used (three), which like the turnout, was more than usual.

The PTA bake sale was doing a brisk business. Not only did they have coffee, fresh-squeezed OJ, water, breakfast pastries, and desserts, they also were selling ready-made meals for later – quiche, pasta in sauce, mac n' cheese.

There was a steady stream of people arriving when we left the polling place and a knot of smiling people standing outside Starbucks. Alas, there's no Ben & Jerry's scoop shop roundabout Exit 151 – my parting lament for Part 1.

Part 2, about 7 p.m.: I returned home in time to let in the gas meter reader. He was sporting a big "Utility Workers for Obama" button and talked about taking both his grandmothers to vote. It's bittersweet that Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, didn't live to see this day, although her absentee ballot is valid under Hawaii law and will be counted.

Now I'm eyeing the New York Times Election Wordtrain (fascinating stuff!) and the map of poll closing times, courtesy the Swing State Project.

Map of poll closing times

Off to cook supper and to light my remaining Barack-o-lantern for luck. Alas, the other one started sagging.

Part 3, next day: We were prepared for a long, anxious night, but when Pennsylvania was called for Obama within an hour of the polls closing, DH and I switched to decaf, turned down the TV volume, read a bit, and otherwise relaxed. We stayed up for Sen. McCain's concession speech and President-Elect Obama's victory speech (nudging each other over the many excellent references), then turned in for a sound, sweet sleep. No drama – unlike in 2000, this time we knew what the next day's headlines would say.

Post factum sock photo

I just love how dead-tree print versions of November 5 newspapers are the hot memento of the day. And I love the president-elect's new website, change.gov. When my browser hangs, it says, "Waiting for change.gov"!


Bezzie said...

I'm telling you you gotta wait til after dark to vote! That's when the lines are gone!

Jessica said...

WOOHOO!!!!!!! That's all I can muster on this little sleep.

Deborah said...


my scream of utter delight and shock!