Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Interesting Polling Place

This was my first time voting at this particular polling place. I live less than a mile from town, but apparently that puts me in a whole different voting district, sending me 6 miles in the opposite direction out into the countryside. I am not kidding - there isn't even an unincorporated town near the community hall where I went to vote. I made a wrong turn heading me up a dirt road that I knew couldn't possibly be right, where there was only the odd farm or ranch. Back to the main highway, I soon found the right road a little further down, and there at an unmarked intersection was a building tucked back in the trees next to a group of recycling bins. There was no discernible parking lot as such, and the "driveway" was a short semi-circle of pot-holed dirt with muddy ruts from the day's rain and traffic. The smallish "Vote Here" signs were all that convinced me I was in the right place.

The community hall could once have served as a school, or even a church, but more likely has always been just what it is today, a community meeting place for this rural area. I could hear raucous laughter coming from inside, and indeed, it was the lovely ladies ready to serve, all five of them, joking and having a great time together. No waiting - no one else was there at 2:30 when I arrived, although I overheard them tell a couple who arrived after me that it was quite busy this morning with people lining up an hour before the polls opened. Once again, my inability to get crackin' early in the morning paid off.

I am inherently suspicious of much computer technology so was counting on this remote polling place to let me fill out my ballot the old fashioned way and I was not disappointed. I was handed a paper ballot and told to fill in the appropriate ovals using the pencil in the voting booth. I turned to see where to go, and instead of seeing those cute little portable curtained booths, all I saw were several folding screens painted with flags. Mmm - I moved toward one and found a card table and chair set up behind it, a 1950's style nightstand lamp and promised pencil resting atop it. My, I don't EVER remember being able to sit down while I filled out my ballot - I rather liked this!

Once I was done filling out my ballot, I took it back to a poll worker secure in its sleeve to keep anyone from seeing how I'd voted, and slipped it into the ballot box. Then I was given the sticker and reminded that I could go find a Starbucks to get a free cup of coffee for voting.. Tempting, but I decided not to drive the additional 2 miles past my house into town to collect.

I think all the polls are closed now on the West coast, and the news stations are already calling the election. I am relieved, and have only to wait to see how the local elections shake out.

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