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Early voting diary a.k.a. the road to hell is paved with campaign posters

End of the early voting line

Saturday, November 1, 2008

1:40 pm – I pull into the parking lot at the north side early voting station, one of three locations in Marion County, easily located by glut of political signs in the grass. Front lot is packed.

1:42 pm – Pull into back parking lot driving past unimaginably long line which wraps past two buildings and ends at the dumpster. Is this the line to vote or for tickets for a mythical Led Zeppelin reunion tour? Consider going home, but doubt the line will be shorter on election day. Realize I would just lie on couch in post-Halloween stupor anyway. May as well stand in line on this lovely day in a post-Halloween stupor. Brought a book. I may be achy, but I am prepared.

1:45 pm – Get in line. Pull out my stopwatch and start timing.

1:46 pm – Already want to kill man in front of me. He is complaining on the phone that the line is “sick.” Somebody didn’t bring a book.

1:55 pm – A child and her mother walk past the line pulling a cooler on wheels. Water bottles are $1. Money goes to the career center we are waiting to enter. Glad I brought my soda and cheese sticks. Will not collapse from heatstroke or low blood sugar for at least another couple hours, enough time to jump the bodies of the fallen dehydrated victims ahead of me.

1:59 pm – People are campaigning up and down the line, handing out flyers. Don’t need one because I brought my own bookmark. Glad I am wearing sunglasses. Easy to avoid eye contact with pollsters as I gaze deeply into my book.

2:05 pm – Arm is sore. Why did I bring a hardback? Should have brought trashy paperback instead.

2:07 pm – Finish soda.

2:10 pm – Eat cheese sticks.

Early voting line

2:11 pm – Why did I wear a sweater? November day is unusually warm, particularly while standing in the sunlight. Roll up sleeves and feel slightly better. Shade is only 20 feet away. Too bad it will take 20 minutes.

2:17 pm – Child pulls on one of the campaign signs. Parents warn her not to rip out the sign or face prosecution. Doubt I will ever see a news story about a 5-year-old arrested for breaking election laws. Why hasn’t a dirty candidate employed a team of sweatshop children to do this work for him?

2:28 pm – See a coworker walking towards the end of the line. Say hi. Momentarily consider offering to let him cut line, but decide I would rather not be strung up from the tree beside me. Chat briefly. He has not brought a book or water. I feel so sorry for him.

2:41 pm – Wish I had brought MP3 player. People in line are having inane conversations on their cell phones about political views I do not agree with. How dare they talk about politics at a voting station!

3:45 pm – Standing for an hour burns more calories than sitting for an hour. Will count this as my workout for the day.

Early voting line

3:05 pm – I can almost see the entrance to the building. Wish they had signs posted in the ground stating how much longer the wait would be like I’ve seen at popular tourist destinations. Not like there is a shortage of signs around here.

3:11 pm – I have now met 3 people who are running for office trying to sway undecided voters. If they had brought cookies, they might be more successful, though that would be illegal since it would be vote buying. Momentarily horrified that in some circumstances cookies could be against the law.

3:14 pm – Pollster walks by and says, “Don’t worry. You won’t finish the book before you vote.” I laugh, but cry on the inside because politicians are notorious liars.

3:30 pm – I am only 20 people away from entering the building. Meet nice brunette woman who is running for something and asks if I’m in the 7th district. I have no idea, yet I want to vote for her because her purple eye shadow so nicely matches her lavender pantsuit. Know this is horrible reason to vote for someone, unless she is running for sheriff of the fashion police. Secretly wonder how many people vote for reasons exactly as shallow as that.

3:32 pm – I enter the building!

3:33 pm – Oh dear God, there are still at least 100 people in front of me.

3:34 pm – Call coworker to let him know I just got inside. Someone in line is talking to him about Jesus. All sorts of campaigners out today.

Early voting line

3:37pm – Fill out absentee voting application on clipboard handed to me by a school teacher whose voice is fading like my joy of taking part in the electoral process.

3:38 pm – Student walks by with a cart of brownies and chips. Cheese sticks seem like five years ago.

3:40 pm – Election worker prints out a sticker with my voting district on it and slaps it on an envelope which she hands to me. I head for another line.

3:46 pm – Another election worker matches my voting district with a ballot number. Writes it on my envelope.

3:50 pm – An election worker prints out the proper ballot for my district on a laser printer. I get in yet another line.

3:54 pm – There is joyous yelling and bell ringing. No, the wait isn’t over. We’re just celebrating a first-time voter.

3:57 pm – Another election worker double checks my printed ballot with the number written on my envelope. They match and I am sent to a voting booth.

3:58 pm – I fill in my bubbles. Takes 15 seconds. Triple-check to make sure I didn’t accidentally vote for a Libertarian. Stuff ballot in envelope.

4:01 pm – Hand envelope and absentee voting application to another election worker. I sign and date the envelope. He signs the envelope as does another election worker. He seals it with a glue stick.

4:04 pm – I leave the building. Whole process took 2 hours, 20 minutes and 42 pages.

4:07 pm – Drive out of parking lot. Do not want to be present to witness the fury of the owner of the car that’s trapped between two other parked cars. They might be trapped for another two hours and ten minutes, plenty of time to smash some windows and key the car.

4:17 pm – Arrive home. Back hurts. Drink lots of water. Change into t-shirt. Collapse on couch in post-voting stupor. Experience was long and daunting, but worth it. If you do not make a choice, a choice will be made for you.

Please vote.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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90 Comments

Melissa • November 3, 2008 at 8:35 am

Great post! I shouldn’t be amazed at voter turnout, but I am.

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K • November 3, 2008 at 8:37 am

Goodness me! I don’t think I’ve ever needed to queue to vote in Britain. Maybe we have more polling stations per head of population? Or we’re more apathetic?

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PastaQueen • November 3, 2008 at 8:46 am

I should mention that they expect record turnout for this election, which accounts for the long lines. The system has never had to handle this many voters before. Usually I only have to wait 5-10 minutes to vote.

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vivi • November 3, 2008 at 8:47 am

I can’t believe it! TWO hours!!?? In Spain I never waited longer than 10 minutes to vote! And the % of voters is way larger: 73% (it’s not mandatory as it is in Australia) vs. 54% in the US!!! I just go to the school close to my house (each school is a polling station) and that’s it.

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vivi • November 3, 2008 at 8:49 am

To answer to K: in the UK you have 76% of voters (according to wikipedia).. what I can’t find is the nr. of polling stations/population.

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Susan • November 3, 2008 at 9:04 am

Awesome. Two hours is a long time, but you’ve gotta vote this year, especially in a battleground state. It took ten minutes to vote in Texas, but our state isn’t in play, our electoral votes are a foregone conclusion so I could have easily skipped the vote, regardless of who I supported. I envy people in battleground states who can really make their voices heard.

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Helen • November 3, 2008 at 9:16 am

I only wish we had early voting as I am positively dreading the lines election day. But, I will vote, no matter what. How could I not after reading this? Thanks for the snacks/water tip!

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Jen • November 3, 2008 at 9:34 am

We went yesterday to the same place. I was going to make a similar blog. However, it ended up taking us nearly 4 hours. I got a sunburn. In NOVEMBER.

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Tiffany • November 3, 2008 at 9:37 am

Yay for early voting! Can you imagine what it’s going to be like on election day?! We voted early in our household and only had a few minutes wait a few weeks ago. I had to laugh about you triple-checking your bubbles–it took me twice as long to vote as my husband, because I kept re-checking my bubbles to make sure they were filled in perfectly.

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Thealogian • November 3, 2008 at 9:55 am

Isn’t it awesome that Indiana is considered a swing state in this election? I’m glad you voted early.

In Kentucky, we don’t have early voting :( When I was in grad school in Nashville, early voting worked out really well. Although, I think in the 2004 election doing early voting I waited longer than election day voting in 2006.

Regardless, Democracy is great! Though, I do wish we had automatic voter registration and planned for 100% turnout instead of 33% (and give broken machines to neighborhoods with large minority populations, etc.)

peace

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dietgirl • November 3, 2008 at 9:55 am

hurrah! i’ve been reading about your battleground state over here in scotchland. VOTE, PEOPLE! VOTE! woohoooo!

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kari • November 3, 2008 at 9:59 am

my goodness.. LOL. that cracked me up. And I thought my absentee ballot voting from Canada would be a pain in the butt, it was simple and quick. The ONLY thing through a government process since moving to Canada though that has been simple and quick. Agreed – everyone needs to vote – I no longer live in the US but my family and friends do – what happens to them is just as important as my own life! Everyone has a choice!

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Karo • November 3, 2008 at 10:04 am

2 hours 20 minutes is not bad! Last year I stood in line for 4.5 hrs to vote in the Polish parliamentary election. I was living in Ireland at the time, like about 300,000 of young Polish people (and even more in the UK), who all had it up to here with our ruling government, so they all went to vote. The polling stations abroad were completely not prepared for it – even though they require you to register first, so they must have known the turnout was going to be huge.

You know, this is actually making me feel optimistic about your election. Whether one or the other wins, it’s really good to see people taking interest in who runs their lives.

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pam • November 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

Here in MA we don’t have early voting but I did an absentee ballot anyway – big increase in absentee voting this year. I too had to check and recheck – almost gave myself a coronary when I couldnt find my candidate right away! (he was there, at the bottom of the list. whew.)

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tina • November 3, 2008 at 10:11 am

Great post! I voted Friday night here in GA and waited 2.5 hours. People were generally decent. Domino’s was selling pizza slices in line but I was wishing it was Starbucks! Now we can all sit back on Tuesday night and watch it all unfold.

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Christine • November 3, 2008 at 10:14 am

I am now glad that I sent in for my absentee ballot and voted from home. I would have been so frustrated waiting in those lines with my four kids!

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kathy • November 3, 2008 at 10:22 am

Well, that was a good show of patience and restraint on your part. I hope it was worth it and you voted for a free America.

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PastaQueen • November 3, 2008 at 10:28 am

@Susan – It’s beyond weird that Indiana is considered a battleground state. We’re usually hardcore Republican.

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Garth • November 3, 2008 at 10:30 am

Ugh. Your post scares the bejeezus out of me; I was thinking I’d have to wait for a bit but 2 hours to wait for *early* voting. I think maybe I should take the day off work tomorrow, bring a few books and folding lawn chair.

I just hope everyone sticks with it like you did. I remember seeing people bail from the long lines in 2004; I hope people understand how important this election is (regardless of their political leanings).

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Cathleen • November 3, 2008 at 10:49 am

We don’t have early voting in New York, but I plan to go when the polls open tomorrow. Surely standing in line for an hour or whatever it turns out to be at 6 a.m. is every bit as brutal as a morning workout?

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Lyn • November 3, 2008 at 10:50 am

I have seen all the news and heard about people waiting in line to vite and I thought, WTH? I have voted every election and never waited behind more than 2 or 3 people!! Maybe we just have more voting places here… I think all the elementary schools are voting places. We have a mail-in ballot early voting system though, maybe that’s the key.

Now I am scared… wondering if there will be crazy lines tomorrow!

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Quix • November 3, 2008 at 10:51 am

Sounds like an ordeal. I’m lucky, I early voted almost 2 weeks ago on a weekday afternoon and there was no line. However, I am unlucky to be in Texas where my vote won’t make much of a difference. Glad you got out to vote even though it was such a pain!

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Merry • November 3, 2008 at 10:56 am

I was sympathetic right up to the point where you, and I quote, “stuff your ballot”. Isn’t that illegal, even in a battleground state? ;)

So, no sympathy for the horrendous wait. I’m going to feel smug instead. In Oregon we fill out the ballot at home, insert it into the envelope, and drop it off on our way to work.

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fd • November 3, 2008 at 10:58 am

that’s amazing and am really glad you stuck with it PQ. any chance you could use your recent fame to get the networks to advertise your ‘bring along a healthy snack, water and a book’ strategy? an even better strategy would be everyone getting a ticket number when they arrive adn then not having to queue but could play a massive game of frizbee together. democracy and fitness, hand in hand…

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Amy • November 3, 2008 at 11:14 am

Yeah, I wonder if I can start everyone doing stretching and jumping jacks in line tomorrow? I’m hoping since I know so many people who voted early this year that there won’t be anyone at the polls on the actual day!

Note to self: go earlier than you planned! I usually wait 20 mins or so in a presidential election at my school so it’s bound to be worse. And I doubt I’ll get parking… I think I’ll ride my bike!

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Kyle • November 3, 2008 at 11:22 am

This was hilarious. And it made me very glad that I did not have to vote like that. I got to do my vote via fax from Chile. It took me five minutes and ten bucks and VOILA! Only thing is that means I waive my right to a private ballot. But I don’t really give a shit. Go Obama!!!!

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Alexia • November 3, 2008 at 11:26 am

Last time, I did early voting, but this year, my husband has become a citizen (expressly to vote in this election), so we are going together on voting day so I can take pictures :-) Planning my day around standing in line in the AM.

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Pamela • November 3, 2008 at 11:48 am

Wow! I feel really lucky. I voted early about a week ago and only had to wait about 30 minutes. Although, I drove past the same voting station this weekend and the parking lot was insanely full (much more than when I was there). I’m also really glad that we have electronic voting booths – no bubbles to recheck!

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sara • November 3, 2008 at 11:57 am

Thank you for voting, PQ!! Tell all of your friends.

Also, I’ve been doing a lot of phonebanking for Obama from here in CA, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Indiana is the most polite battleground state.

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susan • November 3, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Sigh. You are so not helping mys sense of dread regarding tomorrow’s wait in line. I have to go after work — guess I’d better take the MP3 AND a book AND snacks! Heaven help me if I have to take my kids.

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Pamela • November 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I forgot to add that I was also surprised that campaigning is allowed so close to the voting station in your state. In mine, even signs have to be a certain distance away from the building and no political shirts, buttons, etc. are allowed. Let alone people trying to talk you into voting for them! I’m thinking that I’m glad!

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Cari • November 3, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Holy cats! It took me about an hour and a half to vote in Ohio, and I didn’t even have to wait outside. My husband said it was a hassle, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Wait till I show him your post :-)

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Laura Brandon • November 3, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Wow, I early voted on Thursday on campus, and the whole process took about 20 minutes, from beginning to end. So glad I didn’t have to stand in line for over an hour, because I was between classes! Also, isn’t it illegal to post campaign signs withing so many feet of a voting location? I thought it was, but they’re all over campus too, so maybe I’m wrong. And we didn’t have envelopes, they just had these big machines that we stuck our ballots in and they were processed that way. Not sure which is better?

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Calidaho • November 3, 2008 at 1:13 pm

You shoulda worn your Half Assed shirt and had some copies to sell in line :)

I like to vote on the actualy election day–don’t know why. I guess it’s for the same reason I like to wait until Christmas to open presents.

I usually take election day off to volunteer…tomorrow I will be doing remote GOTV for my presidential candidate of choice. I am not in a battle ground state but I will make calls to them–the calls suck but it works!! Gotta remind people to get out there and to arrange rides, childcare, find polling place, whatever it takes to get every voter to the polls.

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PastaQueen • November 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm

@Pamela – Trust me, sadly the signs and people *were* far away from the actual voting station.

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Christie • November 3, 2008 at 1:22 pm

I have been hearing horror stories from my friends who voted early last week (4 hour wait). They closed the early voting polls on Friday though so I will have to wait until tomorrow. There is only 1 place to vote early in my town while there are multiple places to vote on election day. Hopefully the lines will be less painful tomorrow (crossing fingers). Just in case, I will taking iPod, drinks, snacks, and a book for myself and the husband.

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maggieapril • November 3, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Here in battleground Florida (you know, the state that everyone thinks is full of looney-tunes) I waited only 15 minutes last Friday. Over 46% of the residents in my county did absentee or early voting. Pretty amazing.

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elife • November 3, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Dear Indiana, Swing baby, Swing!

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ginna • November 3, 2008 at 2:13 pm

I had a quick and painless middle-of-the-day, middle-of-the-week, early voting experience in Texas also. The state as a whole might be red, but I still think it is important to show that it isn’t quite so red as it once was.

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ginna • November 3, 2008 at 2:14 pm

I had a quick and painless middle-of-the-day, middle-of-the-week, early voting experience in Texas also. The state as a whole might be red, but I still think it is important to show that it isn’t quite so red as it once was.

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Sarah • November 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm

lmao. That is too funny. Though I probably shouldn’t be laughing, because God knows what I’ll encounter tomorrow at the poll and I’ll have a toddler and a baby in tow. Good times. I’m surprised by all of the campaigning there. There’s some law here (WI) about no campaigning within 500 yards of a polling place (or something like that). Interesting.

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Marla • November 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Wow, I’m glad I did absentee voting this year! I hadn’t really thought about lines, it’s just that I was so impatient to vote I couldn’t wait. I like the excitement of going to a polling place and getting the “I voted” sticker to wear, but eagerness won out.

I’m also in a battleground state, and it’s very exciting; as someone else posted, it’s nice to know that my vote MATTERS, that it could make a difference.

I hope anyone who is faced with long lines won’t give up and go home!!! It sucks to stand in line, but this is VERY important. Thank you so much for that last sentence: “If you do not make a choice, a choice will be made for you.”

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Sybil • November 3, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Thank you for voting.

I took care of my vote last month while on holiday (I’m an American living in Australia). I think there are a lot of people that will not take the time and effort to stand in line like you did. Kudos to you and all who make the ‘above and beyond’ effort.

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K • November 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Whew, this makes me happy that it’s so easy to vote by mail in California (not that it really matters whom you vote for in California…) But good that so many people are showing up for this historic election!

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Erin • November 3, 2008 at 3:06 pm

I’ve always voted in the Washington/Oregon elections. Both states have 100% mail in ballots. I’ll be honest I don’t envy waiting in line.

At least you made it kinda Fun!

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Jackie • November 3, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Yikes! I’m a permanent resident so I can’t vote (too lazy to apply for citizenship) but my hubby and oldest daughter both did early voting here in Chapel Hill and they both walked straight in with no line at all. I admire you for being so patient and waiting in line so long.

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Ellen • November 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Ha, ha :) This part was hilarious:

3:58 pm – I fill in my bubbles. Takes 15 seconds. Triple-check to make sure I didn’t accidentally vote for a Libertarian.

My husband and I both consider ourselves to be about 50% Libertarian and 50% Democrat and last night when we were filling out our sample ballots to bring with us tomorrow into our voting booths he says, out loud, “Which one is the Libertarian presidential candidate?” And I was, like, “DON’T YOU DARE VOTE FOR BOB BARR, PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ARE TOO IMPORTANT!!!” Then I looked at him and he had a mischievous smile on his face. “Just Kidding!” Oh, he is soooo hilarious. We did, however, show our Libertarian colors when it came to the “little” election in our district – City Council. Start from the ground-up and what-not.

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Jen • November 3, 2008 at 3:14 pm

@Garth – I voted at the same place she did, but on Sunday. We were there nearly 4 hours, and I didn’t see hardly anyone bail on the line. It was great!

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Johanna • November 3, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Good luck to you all from Sweden! Everyone here is following this election, and I mean EVERYONE!

P.S. Didn’t I just put some additional pressure on you! :-)

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Jen • November 3, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Good job voting! Here in Canada we have so many polling stations there are rarely line-ups so I’m proud so many people turned out to vote!

As a Canadian our economy is so very closely linked to yours and I pray after this election we might have a better time.

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losing jusme • November 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm

THANK YOU for taking the time to vote in this election… it is so very important.

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Susan • November 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm

@PastaQueen -

Yes, that is an amazing fact. I was at Hamilton Lake IN for Labor Day – population 500 or so, very small-town – and Obama came for a visit, he stopped and had dinner at the one restaurant in town. I remember thinking “whoa this guy is serious about reaching out.”

What an election!

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Jen @ The Short Years • November 3, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Holy cow! Makes me really glad I live in Oregon, land of the vote-by-mail election.

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Chelsey • November 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm

@Merry – As long as we’re getting technical, I think the term for cheating in an election is “stuff the ballot box”, not “stuff ballot in envelope”. If I had waited that long to vote, I wouldn’t have had the patience to “insert” my ballot in the envelope, I’d cram that sucker inside and slam it into the box. And then maybe spit on it. But I’m impatient.

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Some Blogging Chick • November 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm

It’s a sad commentary on my current state of mind that what stands out from all that is the cookie concept. “Hi yes, I’m running based on a platform of More Cookies for All. How many oreos to buy your vote?”

Sigh.

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Lilbet • November 3, 2008 at 5:36 pm

This is such a fantastic post!

Your comment about wishing you had brought a paperback–priceless!

We’ll get through this.

Cheers to high voter turn outs!!

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VerseFameBeauty • November 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm

I saw a statistic today that estimated 1/3 of eligible voters have already voted absentee/early, which is around the amount that usually vote, period, in Presidential elections. Awesome.

On another note, I applied to vote absentee this year, even thought I was not, er, absent… because it’s SO much easier to fill out the ballot at home and mail it off in my own time (weeks ago), thank you very much. :-) Not that I wouldn’t stand in a line for two hours to vote (I’ve never missed so much as a local primary election since turning 18) but if I can avoid it I will!

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Jennywenny • November 3, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Congratulations, I hope I dont have to wait in line that long when they finally allow me to be a citizen in 6 years time!!

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Suzi • November 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm

I am sorry about the wait. The only reason I love living in Az is vote by mail or early vote. I mailed in my ballot from home 3 weeks ago. It was great. I am able to do it for local, state , and federal elections.

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sb • November 3, 2008 at 6:58 pm

@Kyle – LOL!!!

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MizFit • November 3, 2008 at 7:10 pm

(love early voting in TX and) I pray it is all decided tomorrow.

no drama :)

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Helen • November 3, 2008 at 8:25 pm

It is surreal that Indiana is a battleground state (having grown up there…). I’ve been making calls to the fair Hoosier state today for Obama and it blows my mind that so many people there are planning to vote for him. :-) Thanks for the update on how voting went for you, thanks for voting…whoever you voted for!

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s • November 3, 2008 at 8:56 pm

this post made me happy!

and i’m a poll worker in tomorrow’s election. i haven’t done it before, but i am planning to be busy from 6 am (when i get there) to 9 pm (when we’re supposed to leave).

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Lindsey • November 3, 2008 at 9:05 pm

I am so excited about tomororw. There was a great post secret this weekend that really resonated with me:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_a7jkcMVp5Vg/SQzx9LuWYqI/AAAAAAAAHPg/5j3BSEmJFT4/s1600-h/ifyouarecleverenoughtofindthismessage.youaresmartenoughtovote.jpg

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Merry • November 3, 2008 at 10:06 pm

@Chelsey – I think you’re right, technically ;)

I was just being mean.

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Shai • November 4, 2008 at 12:31 am

What I find entertaining is how LONG it takes for the US to hold a campaign. I am soooo tired of hearing about it. How long has it been? Months? years? Kill me now.

Canada held it’s election in what about 37 days.That’s announcing the candidates, campaigning & voting. Thirty seven days!

I voted before work & it took me approximately 5 minutes. I also live in a town of 5000, I’m sure that had a lil bit to do with it. When I lived in the city (80,000) it still only took at most 10 minutes.

Good on ya for voting though, our voter turn out this last election was pitiful.

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Jenn • November 4, 2008 at 1:25 am

Hmm… You’re experience sounds very similar to my voting experience.

An election tidbit: My husband is from Vigo County and supposedly their vote is usually representative of the US population as a whole.

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Tara • November 4, 2008 at 1:29 am

That is crazy how long you have to wait. I am glad we have mail in ballets where I live.

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skaakiko • November 4, 2008 at 2:01 am

Oh dear… why didn’t I vote early? I have a super busy day tomorrow, I hope my voting experience somehow goes faster. *tear*

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auntie • November 4, 2008 at 8:45 am

wow! i can’t wait to recreate your afternoon for myself today. sigh.

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Shirls • November 4, 2008 at 8:55 am

Is it wrong to read this and think “thank god I live in Canada?” seriously over 2 hours to vote? your kidding right? tell me your joking! and election signs and campaigning down the line? wow, I know our countries are super close in some ways and all but wow, what differences! I’ve voted in every election since I was “of age” and it has never taken more than 5 minutes, EVER. Also campaign signs at a voting station and campaigning for votes on election day… illegal (even on a pre-election, early voting day, no campaign at the voting station)

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Kari • November 4, 2008 at 9:10 am

Hubby and I went at 6 this morning…actually at 5 til 6. When 6 came, a poll worker came out and shouted, “Hear ye, hear ye, precinct [x] is now open for election!” Wonder if that is some sort of tradition or requirement?

We had to wait about 30 minutes. The line was shorter when we left than it was when we got there. I’m halfway tempted to drive by again later to see how it is this afternoon. Assuming my head stops hurting. Working on day 3 now. Hope you are making some progress on your own headache.

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Barbara • November 4, 2008 at 9:46 am

So interesting how the rules and procedures and actual voting mechanics differ so much from state to state. Here in New York, we had no early voting (unless you count getting to the polls at 6:20 am this morning, which I did, and I was hardly the first one there!), we still use these big, clunky 1940s-era voting machines (but I love them: they really make you feel like you’ve voted, and guess what? They work!), and state law forbids ANY “electioneering” within some 100 yards of any polling place. In fact, you can’t even wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate’s name to the polls. It’s illegal.

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gknee • November 4, 2008 at 10:02 am

I hate to make you feel bad but I went to my polling place at 830 this morning with NO WAIT! I was pleasantly surprised.

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JEM • November 4, 2008 at 10:36 am

My parents voted early and waited for 2.5 hours. I went today at 9am and waited 5 mins. Maybe early voting isn’t what its cracked up to be.

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Elise • November 4, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Two things:

1) Thank you for prepping us on what to expect – this being the first time I feel inspired to participate in an election, I had no idea what to expect. Since I’m risking a 3 p.m. vote, I’ve packed Terry Pratchett in paperback.

2) The 7th District Lavendar Lady is Gabrielle Campo – not that it would sway your vote now, but she’s running against Andre Carson; an extremely challenging and noble feat. I’m going to assemble a bag of mixed discount Halloween candy for her, win or lose!

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Rebecca Hoover • November 4, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Ditto on some of the last posts, I came prepared with book and food……alas, no wait at all. Just a serious showing of the elderly here in Tucson. :)

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jae • November 4, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Yay for voting! Too bad you don’t live here in Oregon. We got our ballots mailed to us, we sat down at the dining room table and filled them out. Mailed them back. (This was last week.) Sadly I only burned about 7 calories. :) ~j

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Jenny • November 4, 2008 at 3:39 pm

God Bless America. I love Election Day.

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Ash • November 4, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Good on you for voting!

:)

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Sara • November 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Just waited not quite five minutes to vote tonight.

We live in a brand new neighborhood way out in the boonies, so our district isn’t hugely populated yet.

A friend waited almost 2 hours this morning…

Maybe it’s the PMS, but I couldn’t help but get a little choked up. A divisive campaign resulting in a public united in the desire to exercise their right to vote…and there I was with a lump in my throat…

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sarah • November 4, 2008 at 7:57 pm

oh. my. god. That is insane!

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Alexia • November 4, 2008 at 8:49 pm

Phew, took 15 minutes at 8:30am this morning. The early voting lines took hours. Normally I early vote but was out of town this time. Got to vote with DH, who voted for first time (just became a citizen expressly to vote in this election).

Biting nails for returns now. Wine or pie? Well, ok, bike.

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samiam0002 • November 4, 2008 at 9:24 pm

I had a similar experience during the Primary in Dallas, Tx. I kind of lucked out today for the main election today ( I always vote on election day, early voting just isn’t the same!) and got there when there was a lull in the line as I left the line was really starting to get deep!

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vivi • November 5, 2008 at 4:00 am

Congratulations!!!

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Allison • November 5, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Envelopes and paper ballots and glue sticks? Sounds rather archaic. No wonder it took so darn long! Glad you made it, though. :) Also, I ordered your book last night from Amazon. I’m looking forward to reading it!

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movie fan • November 7, 2008 at 2:02 am

i can’t help thinking it’s awesome that there has been such long lines all over… people taking a greater interest in public issues is always a good thing

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Jenny • November 8, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I’m glad I live in Oregon where my ballot arrives in the mail a month before election day. I can take my time, research the candidates and issues. Then I can put a stamp on it or drop it off at some designated spot. :) Whew. I’m happy so many others were willing to stand in those lines to vote.

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Zandria • November 9, 2008 at 8:38 pm

That was some dedication right there! (And I heard the lines were worse in the morning, not as bad in the afternoon…)

I got to the polls in Alexandria, VA at 4:45 last Tuesday afternoon. I was expecting a long line, but there was…nobody. My roommate and I were in and out of there in less than five minutes.

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Chris • March 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I’m very surprised people were allowed to campaign while you were in line: that wasn’t allowed at the Florida voting area I was at (it was a local library). Long wait here, too: about 1.5-2 hours, but I knew that we were also a “battleground” state, so it was worth it! First time voter, but I don’t remember everyone ringing a bell for me :( I still have the voting sticker on top of my dresser, although the adhesive is really starting to go at this point.

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